Robert Novak

Inglis' comment was made at a closed-door "retreat" of the Study Committee held at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. The bitter debate reflected the split over immigration in conservative ranks.

Supporters of President Bush's proposed moderate immigration reforms blamed last year's defeat of Republican Reps. J.D. Hayworth in Arizona and John Hostettler in Indiana on their immigration hard line. But at the retreat, the response from the majority was that Hayworth and Hostettler were not hard enough.


With 80-year-old Republican Sen. John Warner not disclosing until late this year whether he will seek a fifth term in 2008, Rep. Tom Davis is building strong statewide support for the GOP nomination if Warner does not run.

Conservative activists are not happy with the prospective nomination of Davis, who has a lifetime 70 percent American Conservative Union voting record compared to Warner's 81 percent. Davis, who represents a Washington suburban district, would be a strong candidate in populous Northern Virginia (carried by Democrats in their recent statewide victories). Former Gov. Jim Gilmore is a more conservative possibility if he gives up his current campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

A footnote: Former Gov. Mark Warner would be the strongest Democratic candidate for the Senate, but insiders believe he may forego that race to keep himself available as Sen. Hillary Clinton's vice presidential running mate.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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