Anti-immigration groups vowed to defeat Rep. Renee Elmers as punishment for supporting a reform bill. But she beat back a primary challenger handily—with some outside support.
Rep. Renee Ellmers, the nurse turned North Carolina congresswoman, was a top House target for anti-immigration groups looking to knock off a rare pro-reform House Republican in a GOP primary this year. Beat Ellmers, the thinking went, and teach the rest of the party a lesson.
But on Tuesday night, Ellmers easily beat back a challenge from Frank Roche, a businessman and perennial political candidate who had made Ellmers’s support for immigration reform the centerpiece of his effort to oust her. The race had attracted national attention as a test case of a GOP incumbent facing a conservative primary electorate in the wake of declaring support for an immigration reform bill that would support a path to legal status but not citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.