Election Central

Idaho CD2: Smith accuses Simpson of immigration conspiracy; Simpson calls Smith a liar

Just over a week before Idaho’s May 20 primary, a new ad from 2d congressional district challenger Bryan Smith’s campaign ratchets up the intensity in an already heated contest with incumbent Mike Simpson.

Smith’s latest ad claims Simpson voted in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants. What’s more, the ad says “the Washington  special interests” — presumably referring to groups such as the NRA and U.S. Chamber of Commerce — are supporting Simpson “because he supports a scheme to give amnesty to illegal aliens.”

This campaign has seen its share of nastiness, but suggesting Simpson is a pawn in a Washington, D.C., conspiracy is new territory.

Smith’s campaign also sent out a mailer recently that harps on Simpson’s “amnesty” vote.

When Smith rehashed that accusation Sunday at a debate in Boise, Simpson’s response was one of the testiest moments in this race so far. Here’s what he said:  ”It’s an outright lie. It’s not true, Bryan. It was not amnesty.”

Simpson explained that his vote on the 2002 Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act was in favor of extending visas for immigrants who came to the country legally and were eligible to apply for permanent residency.

“If it’s conservative values that you’re going to take these people that maybe got married when they were here, and you’re going to split up their families, and you’re going to send them back — maybe for years — to their countries, and separate those families, I don’t think that’s a good idea, and I don’t think that’s conservative values,” Simpson said.

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