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Idaho GOP says it’s pulled back on funding campaign help for Labrador

The AP reports today that the Idaho Republican Party has shifted gears and isn’t using one of its “victory” staffers to work to elect Raul Labrador to Congress after all, instead spending most of his time on other state GOP campaigns. Jeff Ward, head of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, was hired to work in Coeur d’Alene and head up a push for Labrador against incumbent Congressman Walt Minnick, but state GOP executive director Jonathan Parker told the AP today that he’s now being used as “a traditional Idaho GOP employee.”

Ward is being paid with mostly unregulated donations, or soft money, according to campaign finance reports the Idaho Republican Party filed with the Federal Election Commission last week. Campaign employees who spend more than 25 percent of their time in a given month working on a federal race, such as Labrador’s campaign, have to be paid with political donations that are regulated by law. The state GOP is using such funds to pay Phil Hardy, the other “victory” staffer hired to help Labrador.

Parker told the AP that Ward is working less than 10 hours a week for the Labrador campaign from northern Idaho and does not fall into this category; click below to read a full report from AP reporter Jessie Bonner.


Idaho GOP gives Labrador camp less than promised
By JESSIE L. BONNER, Associated Press Writer

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. House hopeful Raul Labrador hasn’t exactly gotten the help that the Idaho Republican Party promised in June when it announced the hiring of two full-time staffers to help his campaign.

Idaho GOP Executive Director Jonathan Parker said Wednesday that one of the staffers is spending most of his time working on state races instead of Labrador’s race against Democratic U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick.

That’s a shift from earlier plans.

The state GOP announced in June they had requested money from Republican National Committee to hire two people, based at GOP victory offices in Coeur d’Alene and Boise, with the chief task of unseating Minnick.

The hires — Kootenai County Reagan Republicans President Jeff Ward and former state Senate Republican aide Phil Hardy — were cited by Idaho Republicans and Labrador as evidence of key support from the national party to help offset Minnick’s significant fundraising advantage.

“Jeff is going to help us reclaim the First Congressional District!” said Idaho Republican Party chairman Norm Semanko is a June 2 posting on Facebook.

The Idaho GOP has since re-evaluated the situation, Parker told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Ward, the staffer hired to direct the northern Idaho office in Coeur d’Alene, has spent most of his time working on state legislative races and the re-election campaigns of Republican state officers, Parker said.

“We’re just considering him a traditional Idaho GOP employee,” he said.

Ward is being paid with mostly unregulated donations, or soft money, according campaign finance reports the Idaho Republican Party filed with the Federal Election Commission last week.

Campaign employees who spend more than 25 percent of their time in a given month working on a federal race, such as Labrador’s campaign, have to be paid with political donations that are regulated by law. The state GOP is using such funds to pay Hardy, the other staffer hired to help Labrador.

Ward, however, is working less than 10 hours a week for the Labrador campaign from northern Idaho and does not fall into this category, Parker said.

“In northern Idaho it’s just a numbers game,” Parker said. “There’s many more legislative races and state officers who are up for re-election than the one federal race that we’re focusing on.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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