A laundry list of Republican candidates for state and federal office came to stump in Ahwatukee Foothills Wednesday night in the home stretch to the Aug. 24 primary election.
The forum, hosted by LD 20 GOP, the local Republican group in Legislative District 20, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills, attracted more than 80 people to the Grace Inn, in addition to several high-profile candidates like J.D. Hayworth, who is challenging John McCain for the U.S. Senate, and state Attorney General hopeful Andrew Thomas.
Illegal immigration topped the list of issues at the event. Hayworth, in his second appearance in Ahwatukee in the last three weeks, took the opportunity to endorse the idea of eliminating automatic citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants born on U.S. soil. It's a matter of reinterpreting the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, he said.
"This whole notion of birthright citizenship has become somewhat confused," Hayworth said.
He also called for more troops to police the border.
"We must enlist components of our standing military to supplement our border patrol," Hayworth said.
Andrew Thomas, who recently resigned as Maricopa County Attorney to run for the office of Attorney General, said that his efforts, with the help of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, have driven down the illegal immigrant population in the county by up to 30 percent. And for that, he's been sued, picketed and vilified in the media, he said.
"I did it for you. I did it to make this community safer," Thomas said. "(My opponents) fear me because of the values I stand for."
Bill Montgomery, who is running for the county attorney position vacated by Thomas, took aim at his opponent, Rick Romley, who Montgomery accused of sounding a "full-scale retreat" on illegal immigration and of being a Democrat in disguise.
"With a prosecutor like that, who needs a defense attorney?" Montgomery quipped.
Chris Salvino, who is hoping to secure the Republican nomination to run against incumbent Democrat Harry Mitchell to represent Ahwatukee Foothills, the East Valley and points north in the U.S. House of Representatives, called for a beefed up border fence incorporating block houses in which agents would be stationed.
"The border is a sieve. I'm proposing that the fence be completed with razor wire like a prison," Salvino said.
His rival, David Schweikert, also made an appearance Wednesday night. Others on hand included candidates for state House of Representatives John McComish, an incumbent, and hopeful Chris Tolino; Arizona Corporation Commission candidate Barry Wong; Congressional candidate Lee Gentry; Justice of the Peace hopeful William Enzweiler; and Doug Ducey, who is running for State Treasurer.