Immigration reform is paused in the House of Representatives, giving many reason to fear that it will not pass. However, there are over 100 potential swing votes in the Republican party that could clinch a win for immigration reform supporters. One of those lawmakers is U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado.
Favored as a potential successor to U.S. Rep. John Boehner in the House Speaker role, Gardner is classically conservative and yet a mediator between his more right-wing constituents and House leaders. It is his ability to appear more moderate that many attribute to his potential as a swing voter. If Gardner votes against immigration reform, he will likely lose the support of the 21 percent of Colorado’s population that is Latino. If he sides with reformers, Gardner may become labeled as an unreliable Republican. A town hall meeting in Akron Colo., made that clear when conservatives urged him to “stand tall,” MSNBC reported.
With elections approaching in 2014, congressional tension is high for potential swing votes. They must choose between making their party happy and making immigrant voters happy. Republicans in the House can lose up to 17 seats in the coming election and still maintain a majority. If Republicans deny the bill in the House and voters are upset, they may lose more than their 17 ceiling.
Numbers like these leave supporters hopeful for reform. If Republicans are desperate to hang onto their majority, giving into a bill they do not 100-percent agree with may be worth it.
The GOP is in the process of re-branding the party by reaching out to minority and immigrant groups. The work they have done has so far has been effective, but denying immigration reform could damage their efforts. And many Republicans actually support reform,political strategist Robert Creamer explained in the Huffington Post. Evangelical groups that make up a large portion of the GOP have come forward asking Republicans to vote yes for immigration reform.