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Immigration reform: Can a supporter win GOP nomination in 2016?

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See winners like Mike Huckabee in Iowa (2008) and Pat Buchanan in New Hampshire (1996).

So for Republicans, there’s an obvious tension in positioning around the immigration issue. Should GOP hopefuls aim to win 2016 primary contests with an anti-immigration reform stance that could potentially turn off valuable general-election swing voters? Think potential White House wannabes Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, who have made clear their views against reform and for a stronger border.

Or is it perhaps more politically astute to think long, carve out some middle ground on the issue, and seek compromise with Democrats?

“Pro-reform candidates could have a hard time in the caucuses and primaries, but let’s remember there are other issues that drive activists, too,” says David Yepsen, a longtime Des Moines Register political reporter. “Electability in November and likability on the stump are two.”

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