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During election season, voters are used to seeing candidates doing dumb things to win office. Stupid comments, gaffes and awkward videos go viral and guillotine campaigns. But at least such foolishness doesn’t happen in our Arizona Congressional District 1 — until Wednesday — when Arizona Rep. Adam Kwasman, [R-District 11], killed his campaign for Congress.

Arizona State Rep. Adam Kwasman [R-District 11] is running against businessman Gary Kiehne and Arizona Rep. Andy Tobin [R-District 1] for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick [D-District 1], for her seat in Congress.Note to future political campaign managers: Kissing babies wins votes. Yelling at children loses votes.

Kwasman went to Oracle near Tucson to join those protesting unaccompanied illegal immigrant children who were reportedly being bused to Arizona due to overloaded federal facilities in Texas.

More than 50,000 children have illegally entered the United States this year, most fleeing gang violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Unaccompanied children from Mexico are subject to an immediate hearing and can be turned back at the border, but under the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act unanimously passed by the Senate and signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2008, unaccompanied children from countries that do not share a land border with the United States are entitled to a hearing before being deported to their home countries.

“Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law,” Kwasman tweeted after he saw the bus and cut his speech short.

“I was able to actually see some of the children in the buses and the fear on their faces,” Kwasman told reporters afterward. “This is very, very sad state of affairs that we have.”

The problem? The bus was not filled with immigrants, but Arizona children heading to a YMCA summer camp. A reporter told him mid-interview after it was clear Kwasman had no idea he had been yelling at American citizens — the children of voters.

If only there was some sign, some clue, that the bus may have been filled with Americans — like “Marana Unified School District” which was written on the side of the bus. The immigrant children are being bused in chartered Greyhounds, which have toilets useful on long, interstate trips.

Managing Editor Christopher Fox Graham“I saw a school bus with plenty of children on it,” Kwasman said, before the reporter pointed out again that the bus was filled with American schoolchildren, after which Kwasman admitted he may have had made a mistake.

According to reporters, the children were not terrified, but laughing and taking photos on their phones from the bus.

Had the bus been filled with Spanish-speaking immigrant children, they likely wouldn’t have understood the signs and slogans in English, and may have instead thought the protesters holding them and big American flags were welcoming them to the United States. No one will ever know because no immigrants ever arrived and federal officials said none were scheduled to.

Kwasman’s tweet was later deleted (but can still be found here). Kwasman’s interview, however, has made major headlines across the country. The campaigns of his opponents — Arizona Rep. Andy Tobin [R-District 1], Republican businessman Gary Kiehne and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick [D-District 1], issued press releases attacking Kwasman for his behavior.

Kwasman hasn’t yet issued a reply, perhaps because his campaign for Congress is effectively over. Rarely are famous last words so elegantly recorded.

Christopher Fox Graham

Managing Editor


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