Reid: We need more Lindsey Grahams

Reid: We need more Lindsey Grahams
© Lauren Schneiderman

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidTop Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor GOP in uncharted territory rolling back rules through resolutions MORE (D-Nev.) on Wednesday said Republicans should follow the lead of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Reid said Graham defeated conservative challengers and avoided a runoff after co-authoring immigration reform last year, unlike House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorTop Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling to retire after end of current term A tyranny of the minority is raising your health care costs MORE (R-Va.), who was defeated in a shocking result the same night.

“I believe the Republicans should follow the lead of Lindsey Graham. Lindsey Graham was part of the Gang of Eight to come up with immigration reform. He never backed down, backed up. He kept going forward on this issue,” Reid said.

“We need more Republicans who are Lindsey Grahams,” he added. “Lindsey Graham is a very conservative man, but I’ve worked with him on a number of issues, some of which we don’t even talk about publicly.”

Immigration was one of the main issues in Cantor’s primary fight.

David Brat, who defeated Cantor, accused him throughout the campaign of supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants and said Wednesday that he won because of the issue.

“Amnesty, at the end, was the clear differentiator between myself and Eric Cantor. It fits into the whole narrative that he was not present in the district, and not in touch with supporting the U.S. Chamber agenda,” Brat said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.”

Cantor did not support the Graham bill passed by the Senate but has voiced support for taking steps to help illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.

Democratic leaders argued on Wednesday that Cantor’s political downfall would not kill immigration reform this year.

“I think there’s such wide support for this legislation,” Reid said. “In the district that Leader Cantor lost, heavy support for immigration.”

Democratic leaders pointed to a poll in the district showing that 72 percent of voters supported comprehensive immigration reform. The survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic pollster, showed that 58 percent of Republicans in Cantor’s district said immigration reform was very important.