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Prepare for a walk-back?

The Arizona immigration law has come up for some initial discussion in Idaho (as noted here a few posts back), and now apparently in Oregon.

This arrives via Republican gubernatorial candidate (and widely-presumed front-runner) Chris Dudley – although he sounds more confused than definitive on the subject. Guesting on the Lars Larson radio program, he fielded a question from the host on what he thinks about the new law, and responded (audio here):

If they have reasonable suspicion, and I think that is probably the key word here, is uh, then I think they should be able to, to look into that –um – and I and that’s uh – it’ll be int – obviously the –courts are gonna take a look at how the Arizona law has been written. I –uh – have looked at it, but the courts will decide whether it’s uh constitutionally uh um uh whether it works in that regard and if it does I think it’s uh- it’s something that we could look at uh, obviously we don’t have quite the same uh –problems that Arizona does with-with the border – um that is we don’t have a border – but we don have a problem with illegal immigrants and we need to look at solutions there. And I think that as a state we need to look at making sure that all the laws are enforced, I also think we need to look into technology um-and I think a uh uh prime – uh uh – prime uh source there would be businesses being able to determine whether their uh employees are legal or illegal and I simply think we should look into areas such as E –verify uh and in in order to get a get a hold of this problem.

(Transcript from the Oregon Democratic Party, but reviewed here for accuracy.) He sounds caught unawares (though why that would be is unclear, and Larson certainly wasn’t trying to trap him).

But however vaguely, he’s now opened the door to the subject in Oregon campaigns. His main competitor, Allen Alley, is flatly opposed to the Arizona law, as are the Democratic front runners. But if Dudley survives the primary, you can expect this to be a top issue, and a major wedge splitting him off from the independent centrists.

A comment from Sal Peralta (once a Democratic legislative candidate but now a leader in the state Independent Party) on the Blue Oregon post about all this put the point firmly:

“See, this is a problem with candidates who have zero experience, limited knowledge, and no track record. When the Oregon Farm Bureau endorsed Dudley they probably didn’t know that he supports police crackdowns on latino workers. If Rick Hickey and his buddies at OFIR had known that Chris would be this quick to attack brown people, they might have given his candidacy a more serious look.”

Such a line of thought may well resonate in Oregon.

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