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Politics

Nov 25, 2013 6:50 PM by Sanjay Talwani (sanjay@kxlh.com)

Helena real estate investor enters U.S. House race

HELENA - The field of candidates for Montana's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives is growing, with Drew Turiano, a Helena real estate investor, entering the race.

Turiano calls himself a pro-life Christian Tea Party conservative Republican.

He's opposed to abortion without exception and is in favor of impeaching President Barack Obama.

He also favors returning illegal aliens to their country of origin the way the country did during the Eisenhower Administration in the 1950s.

"It was called 'Operation Wetback' and that policy repatriated about 1.4 million illegal aliens that were in America from Mexico," Turiano said. "He repatriated them along with their American-born children. President Eisenhower did that, it was called Operation Wetback. I think America needs another Operation Wetback.

He said it only took about 1,000 police and other agents in places like California, Texas and Arizona. With far more aliens living illegally in the country now, Turiano figures it could still be done.

"What will it take to repatriate maybe 20 million, maybe 20,000 officials?" he said. "It's not that difficult. It was done once in American history. It can be done again."

He also said Montana should nullify any federal or judicial laws that the state thinks are unconstitutional - for instance, Obamacare, and Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized most abortions.

Turiano ran for statewide office in 2012, starting a campaign for governor before switching to a campaign for Secretary of State, citing the difficulty in raising campaign funds.

He called that run a learning experience: "I have better associations this time than I did the first time. I'm meeting a lot of great people around this state that I never met before, when I was running for Secretary of State. I met a lot of good conservatives and they're going to be helping me out this time."

Turiano, who lives in a historic 6,000-square-foot home in Helena's Mansion District, said he invests in multifamily residential real estate.

He moved to Montana in 2006 from Westchester County, New York.

"There seems to be just more freedom in the air here in Montana than there is in virtually any other state in the union," he said.

Four other Republicans -- former state Sens. Corey Stapleton and Ryan Zink, current state Sen. Matthew Rosendale and former Secretary of State Brad Johnson have all indicated they're running for the House.

On the Democratic side, longtime Max Baucus aide John Lewis has filed for the race and Melinda Gopher, a Missoula paralegal and civil rights activist, has also said she's in the race.

Independent Shawn White Wolf is also seeking the office being vacated by Steve Daines, who is running for Senate.

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