Sunday, August 27, 2006

Minutemen move to become legitimate political force

No longer content to patrol the borders from the comfort of their Winnebego’s, propped in lawn chairs with binoculars and two-way radios, the Minutemen Defense Corps, has decided to take their fight for closed borders directly to the American electorate through their political action committee Minutemen PAC.

According to its controversial leader, Chris Simcox, the PAC has already raised upwards of $350,000 to help anti-immigration candidates, and has successfully influenced primary contests with Minutemen sponsored TV and radio advertising on behalf of their chosen candidates.

tags: , , , , , , , ,

In Michigan’s 7th Congressional District the Minutemen spent nearly $50,000 on TV and radio ads for their candidate, Tim Walberg in his primary bid to unseat incumbent, Joe Schwarz. Walberg, a former pastor, won the Aug. 8th contest garnering a six-point lead over the first term Congressman.

Schwarz, who was targeted by numerous right-wing special interest groups including anti-government Club for Growth PAC, which sent over $1 million to the race, saw his defeat as a probable “victory for right to life, anti-abortion, anti-embryonic stem cell groups but it's a net loss for the Republican party because it just pushes the party farther to the right."

Simcox sees things a little differently, viewing Schwarz’s defeat as a clear endorsement of his anti-immigrant agenda.

“Michigan sent Washington D.C. a message tonight that voters are fed up with coddling illegal aliens with government benefits and amnesty,” Simcox said. “Tim Walberg is a solid individual who will stand up for South Central Michigan voters concerned about the threat illegal immigration presents.”

“It’s clear that Joe Schwarz’s support for Spanish Language ballots, government benefits for illegal aliens, allowing towns to be sanctuaries for illegal aliens and worst, President Bush’s Amnesty proposal was a major factor in his overwhelming defeat tonight,” Simcox said.

Minuteman PAC spent nearly $50,000 on radio and cable TV ads throughout the district, including on expensive Detroit and Lansing stations, Simcox said. “I am proud that we were able to play a role in this successful campaign,” Simcox added, noting that the Republican Primary winner is the overwhelming favorite going into the November election in the solidly GOP 7th District.

After the Michigan win, Simcox and his group focused on the Nevada primary for the 2nd Congressional District. The Aug. 15th race boiled down to essentially to a three-way contest between Nevada's secretary of state, Dean Heller, state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, and former Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons.

Again joining forces with the Washington, D.C.-based Club for Growth, which accounted for more than 80 percent of Angle’s reported $720,202 in campaign contributions, the Minutemen PAC again paid for numerous TV and radio ads supporting Angle.

Despite their best efforts, Angle lost the election by 421 votes. But according to her website she will be seeking a new election on the grounds that there are “errors that occurred in the primary vote in Congressional District 2 of Nevada, that disenfranchised voters leaving the results of the election in doubt.” If her effort is successful it is yet to be seen if the minutemen will once again get behind her campaign.

There are other races that the Minutemen have taken a great interest in.

One of those is that of "Minuteman 2 Congress”, candidate Randy Graf in Arizona’s 8th district. The hand-picked Simcox candidate leads in the polls right now to run as the Republican candidate for the seat vacated by incumbent Jim Kolbe. Graf's ties to the minutemen go back to the groups inception over a year ago, when he was one of its initial members. Minutemen PAC has strongly supported Graf throughout his candidacy. From Graf’s website comes this:

Randy Graf is a Minuteman. He enthusiastically answered the call when the Minuteman project was formed in April 2005. He was there on the first day in Tombstone, Arizona where he lent a hand to the Project’s organizers in ensuring that registration and orientation went off successfully. He was a part of the month-long event on the border. And he was there as a featured speaker at the celebratory closing event of the Project.

Now is the time to take the Minuteman Project to the next level and it is time to send a Minuteman to Congress to represent American citizens who want something more done about illegal immigration and the lack of border security. The Minuteman Project can’t go on forever. We need to have the federal government take over and do the job that they are obligated to do.Randy Graf is ready and able, the target has been identified, and the goal is achievable. To do it, this Minuteman needs YOUR help and continuing support.

Another candidate the Minutemen have contributed to is Colorado State Sen. Doug Lamborn who just tied up his parties nomination in the 5th district of that state after beating five other challengers to run against Democrat Jay Fawcett, for the seat vacated by incumbent Joel Hefley (R). Acccording to their website, “MMPAC infused key funds into the effort—the Federal Election Act limits of $5,000 for the primary and an additional $5,000 for the general election. We are delighted that Lamborn’s victory means his campaign will be putting Minuteman PAC’s general election donation to good use against his Democrat opponent!”

In addition to these challengers,, MMPAC has also donated to incumbents, Tom Tancredo (CO-6), Steve King (IA-5) and John Hostettler (IN-8) according to recent FEC filings.

But the Minutemen have much grander ambitions. They plan on taking their campaign nation, targeting twenty-five Senators and Representatives they have placed on their “list of shame” because of “their votes and actions AGAINST border security and FOR amnesty.” in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Not surprisingly the list is entirely made up of Democrats except for Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chaffee.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE)
Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Rep. John Barrow (D), GA-12
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D), NV 1
Rep. Marion Berry (D), AR 1
Rep. Lincoln Davis (D), TN 4
Rep. Bart Gordon (D), TN 6
Rep. Steve Israel (D), NY 2
Rep. John Murtha (D), PA 12
Rep. Jim McDermott (D), WA 7
Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D), MN 7
Rep. Steve Rothman (D), NJ 9
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D), CA 47
Rep. Joe Schwartz (R), MI 7
Rep. Ike Skelton (D), MO 4
Rep. Vic Snyder (D), AR 2

In spite of the fact that the Senate Bill that the Minutemen so strongly oppose was sponsored by Judiciary Chairmen Arlen Specter[R-PA], and co-sponsored by Sen Sam Brownback, [R-KS] , Sen Lindsey Graham, [R-SC], Sen Chuck Hagel, [R-NE], Sen Edward M Kennedy,. [D-MA], Sen Mel Martinez, [R-FL], and Sen , John McCain [R-AZ], only Sen. Kennedy’s name appears on the “list of shame.” The glaring omission of Republicans like Lugar, DeWine and Snowe who supported the bill only raises questions as to the Minutemen’s true motivations.

Is their intent to change the balance of power in Washington in their favor, or is it to insure Republican control even if those Republicans oppose their anti-immigration vision? It appears from the “list of shame” it is the later. Their political action would have little effect on changing the dynamic in Washington vis a vis immigration reform and the Senate Republicans who oppose them would still be in office.

Obviously Simcox’s minutemen have taken a large step forward in legitimizing their brand of xenophobic racism. They’ve come a long way from the rhetoric of the first patrols over a year ago:

The night of April 3, armed vigilantes camped along Border Road in a series of watch posts set-up for the Minuteman Project, a month-long action in which revolving casts of 150 to 200 anti-immigration militants wearing cheap plastic "Undocumented Border Patrol Agent" badges mobilized in southeastern Arizona. Their stated goal was to "do the job our government refuses to do" and "protect America" from the "tens of millions of invading illegal aliens who are devouring and plundering our nation."

At Station Two, Minuteman volunteers grilled bratwursts and fantasized about murder.

"It should be legal to kill illegals," said Carl, a 69-year old retired Special Forces veteran who fought in Vietnam and now lives out West. "Just shoot 'em on sight. That's my immigration policy recommendation. You break into my country, you die."

Carl was armed with a revolver chambered to fire shotgun shells. He wore this hand cannon in a holster below a shirt that howled "American bad asses" in red, white and blue. The other vigilantes assigned to Station Two included a pair of self-professed members of the National Alliance, a violent neo-Nazi organization. These men, who gave their names only as Johnny and Michael, were outfitted in full-body camouflage and strapped with semi-automatic pistols.

Earlier that day, Johnny and Michael had scouted sniper positions in the rolling, cactus-studded foothills north of Border Road, taking compass readings and drawing maps for future reference.

"I agree completely," Michael said. "You get up there with a rifle and start shooting four or five of them a week, the other four or five thousand behind them are going to think twice about crossing that line."

With a grilled sausage in one hand and a cheap night vision scope in the other, Johnny scanned the brush in Mexico, spitting distance away.

"The thing to do would be to drop the bodies just a few hundred feet into the U.S. and just leave them there, with lights on them at night," he said. "That sends the message 'No Trespassing,' in any language."

But then again … maybe not.


Pondering American said...

A few thoughts on your post. I again have concerns where this money for this PAC is coming from. Especially with the current state of affairs of the Minuteman Simcox faction and their finances.

It was the genuine consensus in the Republican party that the Simcox had no real effect on that race in Wisconsin. He dumped some money in that race at the end to claim a victory.

I expect the Angle defeat to stand. I might add I find that a major defeat for the money that spent especially in a border area state.

Colorado I would deem a victory in some ways for Simcox.

Graf is an interesting race. I am fearing that the other Republicans will not be able to overtake him. I keep hearing that if it is Graf that the Democrat would have a easy time of of it. I have no clue if that is true. Again from a thousand miles away it is hard to seperate the rah rah talk on both sides from political reality.

AS to your the infamous list. I wouldnt read to much into that. I suspect the most they will do in some of those races is give at most the 5000. THey will expend no real advertising dollars there. LEts face it I am looking at the list of Dems and they are pretty safe.

As to the Republicans also remember that Martinez, Brownback and several others are not up for relelction. The only one that is up is Grahmn. I suspect what we are seeing is not so much the desires of Simcox but the balancing act the the PR firms and and other groups and their balancing act they have to do. To say the least privatly many Republicans are not pleased with what these group is doing. Also it is still not clear what the ultimate political goal is of this group.

In essense I think the races to watch are the Graf Race and the Colorodo Race. If there is a Dem in danger that is on that list I would like to know. But again I suspect whatever actions in those races if any would be symbolic.

FUrther, the PAC might have to spend some money on some other incumbents. Again, I keep hearing Haysworth out in Arizona is in a tad of trouble. But when is he not. But several Dem blogs from that state seem to indicate that this is their best chance in years to pick up that seat. Again it is hard to tell what is cheerleading and what is reality. I have still not got my head around what the Arizona political scene is like.

Duke1676 said...

I think for the most part your right on target here.

I think the "hit list" is more of a fund-raising tool than any pratical strategy statement.

AZ-8 is the race to watch. Man Eeegee who contributes here on occasion is from AZ and has been watching this race for a while. Right now it appears that Graf is a primary shoe-in and what happens from there is to be seen.

Hayworth does appear to be in trouble but from what I see it's much more from his Abranoff connections and the Indian tribe thing than anything related to his immigration stance.

From what I'm getting from the border states, the anti-immigration Tancredo crowd is getting some play on imigration - the question will come down to can the large Latino population in those areas mobilize the GOTV effort in a big way and do to them what happened to Pete Wilson in Cali when he tried to use this issue... I'm getting the feeling that they most certianly will.

hopefully that will shut down this issue along the border leaving only those like King in IA and Sensenbrenner in WI to try to make hay with it.

Maybe then we can start to have a more sensible discusion on the whole issue.

Man Eegee said...

Graf is going to win the Republican Primary, I'm almost convinced of it. He'll face one of three strong Democrats--Giffords, Weiss, or Latas but with immigration being such a hot topic everything is up in the air. You're right Duke, it will depend on voter mobilization. Tucson has been great for energizing the electorate, but I have a feeling things are going to be close in November. Here's the latest polling with commentary from Blog for Arizona

carlos said...

I'm from Boise, Idaho, where we have our own special situation. I'm wondering if you would mind if I cite any of the info from this blog - I'm writing some pieces for the local press and some of your data is very pertinent. What is the best way to cite your blog - if at all? Thanks for all your work.

Duke1676 said...

Hi Carlos,

no problem, use anything you want.. that's what it's here for.

Cite as:

Migra Matters - Progressive Immigration Reform

any of these will do.