In the Granite State, immigration proved to be a critical issue in the 2014 Senate race where Republican candidate Scott Brown focused on the perils of a porous southern border. While Brown lost his race to incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire political strategist David Carney said immigration was the reason Brown made the race competitive in the final weeks of the campaign.
As far as the presidential primary, Carney said it’s not the issue on top of voters’ minds.
“It’s crazy if you think immigration is going to drive the election,” Carney said.
Longtime Republican strategist Warren Tompkins said he doesn’t think that immigration will be a major issue in the South Carolina primary, either, which will take place after New Hampshire’s. He said the party is becoming more unified on the issue, in part because of Obama.
“I think the president’s actions will do more to bring the Republican Party together more than anything we could have done,” Tompkins said.
The former Romney campaign adviser said that South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s reelection campaign proved that immigration won’t be a defining issue. Graham, a Republican, supported the Senate’s comprehensive bill, but Tompkins said it barely was discussed on the campaign trail.