On Monday, USA today became the latest publication to chronicle Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck's move back to the center after polls began to show him leading rival Jane Norton in the race for the GOP nomination.
In a sprawling article surveying the 2010 election cycle in Colorado, USA Today noted that Buck, a favorite of the Tea Party and other right-wing groups, "seems to be sliding to the center" in an effort to "sidestep some of the furors that have trailed other Tea Party-backed Senate contenders."
Particularly, USA Today notes Buck's moderate rhetoric on immigration, an issue that has endeared the candidate to conservative Republicans:
Then there's immigration, an issue that has helped energize his support. As a prosecutor, he authorized a raid on a tax preparer who had been sanctioned for helping illegal immigrants prepare returns. Nearly 5,000 files were seized in an effort to locate stolen Social Security numbers.
A district court called the raid "inappropriate."
Buck supports Arizona's tough new immigration law but says the limited resources of law enforcement should be directed at securing the border and arresting illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. It's unrealistic to try to deport all illegal immigrants, he says in the interview. Once the border has been secured, he doesn't rule out considering a path to legal status for those who are here illegally.
This comes just days after Buck told the Durango Herald he would oppose measures that grant amnesty to immigrants who have entered the country illegally, but would consider allowing illegal immigrants to ultimately become citizens.
From the Herald:
But we can't grant amnesty, and we can't punish the people that have done it the right way. The people who are here illegally have got to go to the back of the line and work through the system. But we've got to fix the system before we can expect them to do that.
Buck, however, has consistently separated himself from other ant-illegal immigration aadvocates by saying he favors increased legal immigration, and has said he is not concerned with perceived cultural threats from illegal immigrants.
Immigration has become such a hot-button issue among the Colorado GOP that anti-immigration zealot Tom Tancredo--who is supporting Buck--issued a press release in Februaryslamming Jane Norton for suggesting that the country needed a "workable" immigration system. Tancredo says he worried that a "workable" immigration system was code for amnesty.
The Colorado primaries will be held on August 10.