- Public Domain
- Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador.
A Labrador candidacy sets up a high-profile Republican gubernatorial primary in May 2018, pitting the congressman against Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, and former Idaho State Senator Russ Fulcher and businessman Tommy Ahlquist, who have already begun their campaigns.
During a May 5 town hall meeting at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Labrador was booed after telling constituents, "Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care." Labrador later wrote on his Facebook page that his remark "wasn't very elegant."
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in a single-parent household, Labrador became an immigration attorney and ran his own law practice before being elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2006 and reelected in 2008. In what was considered an upset, Labrador defeated front-runner Vaughn Ward in a 2010 Republican primary race for the U.S. House of Representatives. Labrador went on to win the general election and has been reelected to Congress in 2012, 2014 and 2016,
KTVB-TV reported Tuesday morning that Labrador filed paperwork with the SOS office at 9:14 a.m., ending speculation that he would be running to fill the seat of Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, who will step down from office in 2018.
Ahlquist, Fulcher and Little all issued statements Tuesday, upon hearing of Labrador's filing.
“Idaho is not Washington DC, and I would like to welcome Congressman Labrador back home to the place where we balance our budget and conservative ideals guide us each day," wrote Little. "Idahoans, including myself, look forward to hearing from Congressman Labrador about the accomplishments he has made while being in congress for over 6 years.”
“I welcome Congressman Labrador to the race and look forward to a spirited campaign," wrote Ahlquist. "The Congressman will bring his experience in Washington, D.C. to the race, and I am excited to continue sharing my conservative message of building an even better Idaho with a fresh approach and new ideas. I look forward to seeing the Congressman on the campaign trail.”
"I welcome my friend Congressman Labrador to the race, and wish him and his family all the best," wrote Fulcher. "In 2014, he endorsed me in my race for Governor, stating that he supported me because of my 'political courage and fresh ideas.' He said that I would 'work to reduce our dependence on Washington, D.C., make the tax code more competitive, reduce regulation, and give Idaho the chance to fulfill its promise.' I suspect he still believes that."