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June 28, 2006

Incumbent Chris Cannon (R-UT) handily defeated Republican challenger John Jacob in Tuesday’s primary election for Utah’s 3rd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The race was widely considered a bellwether on the immigration issue, as the only real difference between the two candidates were their approaches on immigration.  “(The) disagreement is whether the Republican Party is going to be some kind of new, xenophobic, anti-foreigner party, or whether we’re going to be the party of a country we’re thrilled has grown,” Cannon said.  John Jacob, with the backing of some of the most prominent anti-immigrant groups in the country, relied almost exclusively on attacks on Cannon’s immigration position of favoring a comprehensive approach to reform.  Despite predictions of a tight race, Cannon won with 56% of the vote.  Anti-immigrant groups had hoped that the defeat of an incumbent solely on the immigration issue would once and for all kill any chances of comprehensive immigration reform.  To the contrary, however, the election results confirm a recent poll by the conservative Manhattan Institute Policy that showed a majority of Republicans favor a comprehensive immigration solution soon.