The outcome of the conservative skirmish of the moment in the Republican presidential primary — a back-and-forth between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry on immigration — will have implications for either candidate should he make it to the general election, particularly in the battleground state of Nevada.

As Romney tries to woo conservative voters by taking a hard-line stance on immigration, he runs the risk of antagonizing Nevada’s growing Hispanic voting bloc, which is expected to be a key swing vote in the general election next year.

Conversely, Perry’s moderate approach to immigration as governor of a border state could antagonize conservative voters while appealing to Hispanics.

As governor of Texas, which deals with both border security issues and a large population of illegal immigrants, Perry adopted a fairly pragmatic stance on immigration, mostly eschewing the caustic rhetoric that has typified the immigration debate.


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