Idaho’s just-concluded state GOP convention was seen as something of a test of leadership for 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador, who chaired the convention and just a day earlier had announced his run for U.S. House majority leader. But Labrador failed to bring the deeply divided party together, resulting in an unprecedented failed convention that didn’t vote on a platform or new chairman, and simply left town and adjourned in disgust.
“It’s hard to blame all this on Raul Labrador, but on the other hand, this does not strengthen his credentials for a national leadership position, either,” said BSU professor emeritus Jim Weatherby, a longtime observer of Idaho politics. Weatherby said the only comparable event he can think of was Nevada’s GOP convention fiasco in 2008, which was canceled before delegates to the national convention had been selected. “And again, Ron Paul forces or libertarian forces were involved in that fiasco as well,” Weatherby said.
“I think it has to have some impact” on the November election, he said. “It does further emphasize the point that a lot of people have always made, that Idaho is a three- or four-party state, not a one-party state, and two or three of those parties call themselves Republican.”