Moderate Republican Tom Campbell is shifting sharply to the right in an attempt to win more conservative votes in the June GOP primary, but the move could end up hurting him in November against US Senator Barbara Boxer. Campbell’s latest right-wing gambit is his decision to support Arizona’s much-criticized anti-immigration law after years of establishing moderate credentials on immigration issues.
In order to gain credibility with the far-right, Campbell has had to contort his logic on the Arizona law. At a Republican debate yesterday, he argued, for example, that police won’t be forced into racial profiling even though the new law requires that they demand ID from people whom they “suspect” are in the country illegally. Campbell has yet to explain how one decides to “suspect” a person’s immigration status. His or her clothes?
Campbell, however, has stopped short of completely copying John McCain and abandoning his moderate beliefs to win election. Campbell, for example, still opposes offshore drilling, the Sac Bee reports. And in a move that drew criticism from his more conservative opponents, Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, Campbell said he would vote to ban people on the nation’s “no-fly list” from purchasing guns. Fiorina and DeVore argue that such a ban would infringe on Second Amendment rights — even if it might stop terrorists from legally purchasing weapons.
Campbell’s rightward swing also took a hit yesterday when Tea Party darling Sarah Palin endorsed Fiorina. Although the Palin endorsement was a coup for the former Hewlett Packard CEO, it also could end up hurting her in the fall campaign if she defeats Campbell next month, because Palin’s popularity in California is relegated to the extreme right. And even that appears to be waning, because Politico reports that Pailin's endorsement of Fiorina has engendered a backlash among conservatives who support DeVore.