Rep. Paul Broun, one of the leading conservative GOP Senate candidates in Georgia, said in an interview posted Monday that Georgia will go Democratic only if illegal immigrants are given the right to vote.

He told Georgia Public Broadcasting that Democrats would make these immigrants so dependent on government that they would favor the left-leaning party.

"It only helps the Democrats if we legalize all these illegal aliens in this country who the Democrats want to put on federal welfare programs , and actually they are on federal welfare programs today," Broun said. "The Democrats want to make them all basically dependent upon the federal government so they can continue their radical, big-government agenda. They want to get people so that they're looking for bigger and bigger government."

Broun added: "That's the only way that this state is going to become Democratic again -- in the next number of decades."

Georgia has drifted toward swing state territory in recent years, in large part due to the expanding Atlanta metro area, which votes much more Democratic than the rest of the state. But it has a ways to go; President Obama lost it by eight points in his 2012 reelection, even as he won the state's popular vote by four points.

The outspoken Broun faces several other Republicans in the U.S. Senate primary, but national party leaders are particularly concerned that he could emerge from the primary and give Democrats a chance to win the seat.

(h/t Political Wire)