RESULT: Kay Hagan 53% – Elizabeth Dole 44%
S.A. Williams of the Washington Times put this year’s exciting U.S. Senate race in North Carolina into perspective: “Recent polls show [Elizabeth Dole’s Challenger Kay] Hagan in a dead heat with Mrs. Dole, an embarrassing showing for an incumbent who enjoyed a double-digit lead last month. A Rasmussen Reports survey showed Mrs. Hagan, a five-term state senator from Greensboro, edging out Mrs. Dole 48 percent to 47 percent. Both candidates drew strong support from their respective party bases, but Mrs. Dole was hurt by the dwindling number of self-identified Republican voters in North Carolina, historically a Republican stronghold… The polls confirmed North Carolina’s place on a long list of states where once-safe Republican seats in the Senate are in jeopardy this year.” [Washington Times, 5/29/08] According to the Charlotte Observer, illegal immigration could become a “pivotal” issue in their race. In May 2008, Dole released a television ad which “touted her role in helping N.C. sheriffs crack down on illegal immigrants. It featur[ed] more than a dozen sheriffs praising her efforts.” The ad aired a day after Dole’s opponent, Kay Hagan, “discussed immigration with several sheriffs in Raleigh and raised questions about a program Dole has championed. [Charlotte Observer, 5/29/08] An ad put out by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee attacked Dole: “She can’t fix gas prices from 93rd place or create jobs,” a narrator says in the ad. “And she sure hasn’t fixed immigration from 93rd place. Elizabeth Dole. After 40 years in Washington, not as effective as you might think.” [Charlotte Observer, 8/12/08]
The Dole Position:
ENFORCEMENT ONLY. During her tenure in the U.S. Senate, Dole has taken a hard-line immigration stance and opposed efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. According to the Charlotte Observer, Dole helped defeat Bush’s immigration reform efforts, and disagreed with him on that issue. [Charlotte Observer, 5/7/08] In 2008, her campaign has featured the Senator’s work with the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to establish a partnership so that local sheriffs can help deport undocumented criminals. [Dole Campaign Press Release, 5/27/08] However, her office also said that Senator Dole: “does not support rounding up illegal immigrants in Alamance County and running them through the 287(g) program. ‘It’s not practical,’ said Brian Nick, Dole’s chief of staff. ‘It’s not possible. It’s not fundable and in many cases, how would you possibly monitor the abuse of civil rights and all kinds of other things.’” [Times-News, 8/9/08] Dole’s campaign website does not list an immigration position.
The Hagan Position:
ENFORCEMENT PLUS. On her campaign website, Hagan features her position on illegal immigration. She states, “Illegal immigration is a threat to national security and our economy. During the last seven years, the current administration in Washington has failed. The rule of law has been eroded as the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. nearly doubled and enforcement activity fell. In the Senate, Kay will work towards a practical solution that is fair to taxpayers and addresses the problem at its roots: by strengthening the borders, enforcing and upgrading laws that crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers, and eliminating the shadow economy that drives down wages and working conditions. If North Carolina’s farmers and seasonal businesses are having trouble finding the help they need, Kay would support the reform of guest-worker programs to ensure farmers and businesses are able to meet their needs legally and stay competitive while protecting American workers’ jobs.” [kayhagan.com, Accessed 5/30/08]
North Carolina Senate