From my Sunday column: First District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador kicked off his re-election campaign with two $50-a-plate fundraisers, one in Coeur d’Alene at the Idaho Wildlife Museum in Riverstone that drew 90 people, and the other a luncheon on the 17th floor of the Zions Bank building in Boise last week that drew 188; there were also various levels of sponsorship for donors giving more. During his Boise speech, Labrador had harsh words for his Washington, D.C. colleagues. “Today’s political climate in Washington is the result of poor leadership,” he said, “but it’s not just the leadership of Obama, it’s the leadership of both parties that I think has been poor over the last few years.”
Labrador, who is seeking a third two-year term in the House, said, “There’s too many politicians that are worried about their next election, instead of worrying about their next generation. They’re more worried about maintaining power.”
“I believe that’s why 62 percent of Republicans feel betrayed. I think that has created a vacuum in this nation that is now being filled by Donald Trump,” Labrador said. “But in my opinion, Trump is playing to our fears and our anger. And that’s not the type of leadership that I think we need. Unfortunately, it could be the type of leadership we deserve, if we don’t become better leaders as members of congress and as politicians.”
He also said, “The leadership principles I learned while I was in the Idaho Legislature can and should be effective in Washington.”
There are three Democrats and two Republicans running on the primary ballot for a chance to challenge Labrador, but two of those candidates live in California. His lone in-state challenger in the GOP primary is Gordon Counsil of Caldwell; in the Democratic primary, Boise attorney James Piotrowski faces Staniela Nikolova of Moscow.
Labrador was introduced at his Boise event by Zions Bank CEO Scott Anderson, who had traveled up from Salt Lake City for the event. Praising Labrador, Anderson said, “I think he’s a great benefit for the country, I think he’s a great benefit for the state of Utah.” Amid murmurs in the crowd of “Idaho,” Anderson continued without correcting himself, calling Labrador a “great congressman.”