“The Latino advocacy organizations see this as Armageddon,” Segura said. “Research suggests that Latino mobilization is greatest when they’re frightened and SB 1070 conceivably affects every Latino. If the United States loses the case, the effect for Obama is quite strong because ‘the big bad meanies are coming to get you.’ ”
But the temperature of Arizonans themselves—perhaps the most important indicator—is difficult to gauge when it comes to the law that has become most closely associated with their state. In the wake of its passage, Arizonans gave the GOP an iron-clad grip on the state legislature and elected Republicans to all six statewide offices up for grabs.
At the same time, in 2011, state Sen. Russell Pearce, chief architect of SB 1070, was thrown out of office in a recall election, spurred in part by the backlash against the legislation.
Tellingly, the Arizona Republican Party is focusing not on SB 1070 or any of the other social issues taken up by state legislatures that have ignited heated debates across the country. Rather, Arizona GOP spokesman Shane Wikfors said the party is adjusting its message and advising candidates to focus on the economy.
“It’s not an us-versus-them situation,” he said. “We are not as a party pushing strong anti-illegal-immigration messaging at this point because the fact of the matter is the Latino/Hispanic vote in Arizona is extremely concerned about what’s happening with the economy.”
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