Koch network moves to give late-campaign boost to GOP's McMorris Rodgers

Koch network moves to give late-campaign boost to GOP's McMorris Rodgers
© Greg Nash
 
Libre Initiative Action, the Koch network's Hispanic campaign arm, will send out the post card–size mailers with Spanish on one side and English on the other. The mailers highlight McMorris Rodgers's record on the economy, immigration and trade.
 
Daniel Garza, the president of the Libre Initiative who grew up in eastern Washington near McMorris Rodgers's district, said the GOP lawmaker "tethers [Republican leadership] toward a moderate centrist position" on immigration.
 
As a member of House leadership, McMorris Rodgers stayed out of the spotlight during this summer's immigration negotiations, but expressed support to find a path to citizenship for "Dreamers" — undocumented immigrants brought to the country as minors.
 
 
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as "lean Republican," and a September poll showed the two contenders in a statistical tie, with McMorris Rodgers leading Brown 49 percent to 46 percent.
 
In a debate against Brown last month, McMorris Rodgers pledged to push for immigration reform that would give Dreamers legal status and eventually a path to citizenship.
 
"I'm committed to working in a bipartisan way to get immigration reform done," she said.
 
Garza said Libre's support is based on McMorris Rodgers's ability to find common ground on issues like immigration.
 
"Compromise has become an ugly word, but compromise is what’s needed especially on the issue of immigration," he said.
 
While the 5th District is only about 5.8 percent Hispanic, that level of support from any bloc could tip the balance on Election Day.
 
Eastern Washington's Hispanic community dates back to the 1940s, when migrant laborers began working in the region's fruit orchards, and it tends to skew more conservative than Hispanic areas in other parts of the country.
 
Despite receiving Trump's endorsement on Monday, a McMorris Rodgers spokeswoman pushed back on the president for his remarks about wanting to end birthright citizenship that's enshrined in the 14th Amendment.
 
"As Cathy has always said, reforms to our immigration system should be made in accordance with the rule of law and the Constitution,” McMorris Rodgers spokeswoman Olivia Hnat told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “She supports the 14th Amendment.”
 
Garza added that Libre's support is also based on trade, another issue where McMorris Rodgers has distanced herself from Trump.
 
"She’s huge on making sure that barriers are removed to trade, which is critically important to Latinos in the agricultural community in eastern Washington," said Garza.