Eye On Boise

THURSDAY, SEPT. 16, 2010, 4:57 P.M.

Minnick targets Labrador in new ad

Idaho 1st District Congressman Walt Minnick has put out a new campaign ad, and this one is a negative ad targeting his GOP challenger, Raul Labrador, for his work as an immigration lawyer. The ad just began airing this evening throughout the 1st Congressional District, including the Spokane market and North Idaho. It suggests that "illegal immigration may be good for Raul Labrador" because of his line of work, and says, "That sure makes him wrong for Idaho;" you can see the new ad on YouTube here.

Jim Weatherby, Boise State University political scientist emeritus, said it's surprising to see an incumbent who's ahead in the polls come out with a negative ad at this stage in the campaign. "That's not typical, and may tell you that Minnick is more concerned about Labrador than a front-runner might ordinarily be," Weatherby said. "But it also tells you in this political environment, I think candidates are learning from Lisa Murkowski and others: Take nothing for granted. Murkowski did not engage in any negative campaigning with her opponent. She paid a huge price."

Murkowski is the Alaska senator who was defeated by Tea Party candidate Joe Miller in the GOP primary; she's considering running in November as a write-in or third-party candidate. "The polls indicated she had no reason to be concerned, (and had) a sizable lead with an underfunded unknown candidate" challenging her, Weatherby said. "It's typical that front-runners act like they don't have an opponent - just ignore their opponent. But this is a different kind of year. Obviously, Minnick is taking no chances."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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