[Quote is from a Washington Post article behind a paywall.] It's not hard to understand why Denham is eager to separate himself from Republican intransigence on immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the the undocumented.
An October Latino Decisions poll found that if there is no vote in the House on immigration policy, Latinos will overwhelming blame the Republican Party.
The survey identified Denham's Central Valley district (CA-10 which centers on towns extending south from Tracy through Manteca, Modesto and Turlock) as leading the first tier of Republican seats where an angry Latino reaction to Republican obstruction might improve a strong Democratic candidate's chances in 2014. The district is 40 percent Latino demographically; in the voter eligible pool (people who are citizens of voting age) 34 percent are Latino. Latino's are about 25 percent of registered voters. The area voted for Barack Obama in 2012 by a 3.6 percent margin.
Denham's Wikipedia page includes the information that he has voted with his Republican colleagues 95 percent of the time, so he's got a lot of work to do if he wants to distance himself from the poisonous Republican brand.
At least one Democratic challenger has surfaced, Turlock farmer Michael Eggman. Eggman is already blasting Denham about the government shutdown -- he's not likely to let Denham run away from his Republican affiliation.
That Latino Decisions poll highlights what the Anglo community too easily fails to understand in the immigration debate: those 11 million undocumented people who live here, work here and are at risk for deportation are not hidden away out of sight of most Latinos -- they are neighbors and even family. Republican resistance to making sense of our broken immigration system seems -- and literally is -- as an attack on many Latino citizens' friends, uncles, sisters, even parents. The immoral cruelty of a system that values these people's labor but denies their humanity is all too real.
The resulting outrage is a political force. Download the Latino Decisions report to explore how Governor Pete Wilson's choice in 1994 to inflame anti-immigrant fears for his political gain has made California an overwhelmingly Democratic state as the Latino age cohort who felt attacked came of age and engaged with politics. National Republicans are following a similar path to oblivion.