GOP group spending $1M to back primary challenges against incumbents over immigration

A new Republican group is planning to spend $1 million this election cycle supporting primary challengers to incumbent state legislators over the issue of immigration, according to plans first shared with The Hill.

The group, Stand for Us PAC, is spending that figure to help unseat incumbents in state legislatures over two contentious issues. The first has to do with voting access for noncitizens, and the second concerns efforts to bolster a government program that subsidizes medication costs for Medicaid patients in hospitals, the savings from which are reinvested to help underserved communities, sometimes including undocumented immigrants.

The group is specifically eyeing Kentucky, Idaho and West Virginia, with state legislatures there moving on bills supporting the 340B program.

While noncitizens can’t vote in federal elections, there are some localities in states such as Maryland and Vermont that do allow them to vote in local elections.

Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) introduced legislation late last year along with a handful of Senate Republicans that would “would codify the ability of States to require that an applicant provide proof of American citizenship when registering to vote via mail-in application,” according to a press release from her office.

Meanwhile, the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program has also become a hot topic among Republications. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced legislation earlier this year with four other Senate Republicans that would “prohibit Federal Medicaid funding for the administrative costs of providing health benefits to individuals who are unauthorized immigrants,” according to the bill’s text.

Stand for Us PAC says its goal is “to hold Republicans across the country accountable for capitulating to Joe Biden’s dangerous open borders agenda.”

“The contrast between Joe Biden’s disastrous immigration policies and President Trump’s record on the issue will be the best asset for our party in November, but weak Republicans in state legislatures across the country could erase our advantage on the issue by aiding the left’s open borders agenda,” a source familiar with the effort told The Hill. “We will not rest until we hold them accountable.”

A Gallup survey released last month found that 27 percent of those surveyed saw immigration to be the most important problem facing the country, followed by the government at 20 percent and economy in general at 12 percent.

Republicans have leaned into the issue of immigration on the campaign trail this cycle as Democrats have looked to make abortion one of their top issues. However, using the issue of immigration as a tool to primary challengers offers a unique twist and underscores intraparty divisions on an issue that many within the GOP have rallied around.

Updated at 5:51 pm.

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