GOP Senate candidates try to distinguish themselves ahead of primary
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Aug. 21, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
SADDLEBROOKE, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Arizona Senator Jon Kyl will soon retire, and fellow Republicans want to fill his seat in Washington. Four candidates are vying for the primary votes needed to become the GOP nominee in the fall general election. They shared their views--trying to distinguish themselves--to a large group of Republicans Tuesday.
About 500 attended the forum at the SaddleBrooke Republican Club. The candidates: businessman Wil Cardon, Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake, former Youngtown mayor Bryan Hackbarth and Christian talk show host Clair Van Steenwyk.
There’s only one Democratic contender: former surgeon general Dr. Richard Carmona. He'll face the GOP nominee in the general election.
The Republican discussion Tuesday afternoon was civil with a lot of audience applause and no booing. The four candidates shared their views, trying differentiate themselves on issues like immigration.
9 On Your Side asked each for their views on the federal plan allowing children of undocumented immigrants to request avoiding deportation.
“Against it. I think it's wrong,” Hackbarth said. “My wife, who's a citizen, became a citizen in 2008 by the rule of law. This country was founded on rule of law.”
“You came here unwanted and uninvited so it's time to leave,” Van Steenwyk said about illegal immigrants. “I'm not going to benefit you for doing something you shouldn't have done.”
“I'm against amnesty, and I believe President Obama has taken the rule of law and completely destroyed it,” Cardon said, “and said he doesn't really care what the Supreme Court said or what Congress says or what the rule of the land is.”
“I think he should've consulted Congress,” Rep. Flake said. “What he did was just a temporary fix, and we need a permanent fix. This is an issue that we need to address and what the president did is politicize it more.”
Did their answers and the discussion sway voters?
9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen asked SaddleBrooke Republican Club president Dick Alford, “Do you know of people who came here undecided and maybe left different?” “There were people that came here undecided,” Alford answered. “I think it helped them make a choice. We also have some people who already voted through the early ballot and I guess came to confirm what their vote was.”
The statewide primary is Tuesday.