A growing number of conservative leaders and voters are calling for candidates to challenge members of the pro-amnesty GOP establishment at the grassroots level. In North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district, Frank Roche is answering that call.
Roche, running against Republican amnesty supporter Renee Ellmers, took time from the campaign trail to talk with this reporter about why he is running and why he thinks amnesty for illegal aliens is the wrong direction.
He said amnesty would “be a huge mistake for this country”:
My background is in economics and finance. My goal is to maximize real per-capita GDP so that family formation and wealth creation are easier.
Mass immigration and amnesty, he said, undermine wealth creation because of lower wages and higher welfare costs.
“These consequences cannot be reversed,” he warned.
He’s been endorsed by conservative figures such as Ann Coulter and Richard Viguerie, who pioneered political direct mail in the 1960s and 1970s, and is widely regarded as a major influence in the election of Ronald Reagan.
“He is a true, principled, constitutional conservative,” Viguerie said, adding:
The grassroots are angry and disappointed, and candidates like Frank Roche are the only way to solve the problem and send a signal to the Republican Party that their vote is not free.
The 2nd District primary attracted national attention after Ellmers came out in support of legal status for illegal immigrants and then attacked Laura Ingraham for questioning her position. She later berated a group of constituents for expressing concerns about immigration and American jobs.
“Ellmers has branded herself with the mark of amnesty,” said Viguerie, author most recently of “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It.”
In addition to support from Viguerie, Coulter recently named Roche one of three “must-support GOP primary candidates.”
Roche told me that Ellmers used to talk tough on immigration. In 2013, her official position was, “I remain convinced that our first priority is to enforce the law and protect our borders.”
But Roche said voters were deceived.
Viguerie shared that view, saying, “Renee Ellmers betrayed us, she lied to us. There is no trust in leaders like her.”
“If you reward illegals with citizenship and don’t punish their crimes, that is amnesty. Phrases like ‘pathway to citizenship’ and ‘earned citizenship’ all mean the same thing: amnesty,” as Roche sees it.
He said Americans are concerned about the issue:
We’re seeing real excitement that someone is openly talking about immigration and multiculturalism.
Before deciding to challenge Ellmers in the primary, Roche was a successful investor, adjunct professor of economics at Elon University, and talk-radio host. He is versed in the economic, political and cultural impact of mass immigration. Roche wrote about the broader economic trends facing the country in his 2013 book, “5: The Five Structural Barriers to American Strength and Prosperity.”
Ellmers declined to respond to requests for comment. She generated an escalating series of controversies, beginning with her announcement in an op-ed piece that she supports a plan similar to that proposed by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight.”
In her op-ed piece, Ellmers wrote:
If an individual wants to come to this country to work, to provide for his family and contribute to his community, he should be allowed to do so.
Viguerie said Ellmers is “very representative of the problem that we face as conservatives.”
“You cannot have open borders and a welfare state with no assimilation; you will lose your country,” he said.
“Conservatives must strongly oppose anything that smacks of rewarding illegal immigration.”
In March, Ellmers was interviewed on Laura Ingraham’s nationally syndicted talk-radio show. Ingraham pointed out that Ellmers was using left-wing “talking points” in explaining her immigration position.
Ellmers responded by calling Ingraham “small-minded” and “ignorant.”
But Roche said:
On the issue of immigration, she’s not well-informed, so it’s easy for others to convince her. She’s proven that she has a desire to be part of the establishment, and to be admired in Washington, D.C., rather than here in this district.
Her move to the left soon drew the attention of Facebook’s liberal founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to pro-Ellmers ads.
Ellmers also faced conflict over her treatment of constituents in a heated meeting last month. She faced several constituents who claimed that the U.S. should not be importing low-skilled labor at a time of high unemployment and that to do so harms the interests of citizens. Ellmers interrupted the constituents several times, saying to one attendee, “You don’t have any damn facts.”
One attendee, a conservative activist named Bob Youngblood, said that he and his group had never been “so rudely and arrogantly treated.”
Roche said voters have been electing people who are not qualified but seem friendly and raise a lot of money:
But they’ve never taken time to study the issues, like the effects of immigration, so they get rolled over. We need someone who can take on the financial challenges and make sure the economy is providing opportunities for American citizens.
Roche declared that “supporting amnesty should be a disqualifying position for any politician.”
Viguerie is excited to see conservatives like Roche run.
“Politicians like Renee Ellmers, Eric Cantor, John Boehner and Lindsay Graham need to be challenged,” he said. “They’re taking conservative votes for granted, and they’re betraying the best interests of this country.”
The 2nd District primary will be held May 6. The 2nd District includes the U.S. Army post at Fort Bragg and all or part of Moore, Cumberland and Wake Counties.
Cross-posted at WND