Mississippi Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Travis Childers today became the first Democrat to sign an anti-amnesty pledge from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a unexpected and extraordinary play that could significantly change the dynamics of his campaign against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS).
Childers, a former Congressman, signed the pledge Thursday that was seized on by Cochran’s Republican primary challenger, state senator Chris McDaniels, to draw a contrast with Cochran on the issue of immigration. The pledge includes language about amnesty but is also against increases in legal immigration.
The primary race, one of the most bitterly fought contests in recent memory, has left deep wounds in Mississippi, and some conservative activists said Childers’ choice to sign the pledge could sway them to vote for the Democratic candidate.
“It looks to me like Mississippi voters have a choice,” Kevin Broughton, a Mississippian and spokesman for a national grassroots conservative organization, told Breitbart News. “One candidate is on the record opposing amnesty for illegal aliens; has never voted ‘no’ on building a fence on the Southern border; and has never, to my knowledge, played the race card against conservatives. The other is Thad Cochran.”
Cochran won the primary after his allies used polarizing racial appeals to Democratic voters to sway them to vote in the GOP primary. Without Democratic votes, experts have said, Cochran would have lost the race.