Whitman will face challenge on immigration issue in California general election

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010; 4:11 AM

By Sandhya Somashekhar BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Now that Meg Whitman has won Tuesday's Republican primary for California governor, the former eBay chief will have to figure out how to navigate an issue that was foisted on her in her effort to secure the nomination: illegal immigration. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, her Republican opponent, was making headway among conservative voters by casting her as too liberal on the issue. She regained support by fighting back, saying that she opposes amnesty and will be "tough as nails" on those without papers. It is a dicey issue in California, which has fought this battle before. In 1994, voters approved a controversial referendum that would have denied services to illegal immigrants. The measure was thrown out by the courts. Those old battle lines still exist, and Whitman will have to soften her rhetoric to avoid provoking the wrath of groups that vociferously opposed the California - Meg Whitman - eBay - Republican - Immigration


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