GOP super PAC could target immigration hard-liners

Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez may support primary challenges to anti-immigration Republicans

By Jillian Rayfield

Published March 6, 2013 9:25PM (EST)

 Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa           (Facebook/SteveKingIA)
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa (Facebook/SteveKingIA)

Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has formed a super PAC to help pro-immigration Republicans fight back against primary challengers. “If someone has voted for immigration reform and gets a primary challenger, we’ll go after them. We’ll go after challengers,” he said.

The super PAC, called Republicans for Immigration Reform, would also consider attacking immigration hard-liners who vote against reform. From The Hill:

But if anti-immigration Republicans face their own primary challenges, Gutierrez said, he’d take a hard look at spending against them as well.

“We focus primarily on ‘take the vote now and we’ll support you.’ Those who don’t take the vote who get attacked by primary challengers who would have voted for it — that’s a very interesting question,” he said. “That’s also a possibility.”

This is the latest example of Republican in-fighting over the direction of the party, which is primarily playing out as primary side-taking. The most controversial example of this comes from Karl Rove, who plans to use his own super PAC to target far-right candidates in the primaries who would likely tank in the general election.

One of Rove's particular targets is Steve King, who may run for Senate in Iowa and who has a long history of inflammatory rhetoric. King could also be a prime target of Republicans for Immigration Reform if Gutierrez does decide to go after anti-immigrant Republicans.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Carlos Gutierrez Immigration Republicans Republicans For Immigration Reform