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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Jimmy Farris

Farris to seek state House seat, as Bock retires and Burgoyne runs for Senate

Former Democratic 1st District congressional candidate Jimmy Farris announced today that he's running for a seat in the Idaho Legislature, seeking to fill House seat that will open when Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, shifts to a run for the Senate as Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, retires. “This district has had incredible representation over the years, and it’s important that we maintain that strong leadership with a representative who will continue to focus on the needs and interests of not only District 16, but the entire state of Idaho,” Farris said in a statement. Farris, a Lewiston native and former NFL football player, took 30.8 percent of the vote in his run against GOP Rep. Raul Labrador in 2012; it was his first run for office. Click below for his full announcement.

Burgoyne said he's planning a formal announcement of his Senate run early next week, but said, “It's not a secret.”

Happenings in the 1st CD…

Here’s a link to my Sunday column on the week’s developments in the 1st District congressional race, from Rep. Raul Labrador’s campaign finance report sending signals that he’ll seek a third term – rather than run for governor – to the latest on former Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris and the emergence of a longshot GOP opponent, a BSU political science student.

Farris says he’ll run again in ‘14, either for Congress or another office

Jimmy Farris, the former NFL football player and Idaho native who took 30.8 percent of the vote against 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador last year, says he hasn’t decided yet whether he’ll challenge the GOP congressman again next year. But Farris, a Democrat, said he has decided one thing: He will run for office. “I will be running in 2014,” Farris said today. “I’m just not positive for what office or what seat.”

Farris filed a termination with the Federal Election Commission of his campaign finances from the last election, closing out the books, but said he made that move largely because his campaign treasurer, a CPA, was retiring from her practice. If he decides to run for Congress again, he noted, he can refile. This photo, from August of 2012, shows him campaigning in Meridian.

For now, Farris is busy with an upcoming annual family reunion and several business ventures, including one a former teammate is launching to design a safer football helmet, and another he’s working on to develop a type of custom insole. He also became fascinated by the recent George Zimmerman trial in Florida, frequently tweeting on developments there.

“I came into it, honestly, with a bias, kind of a preconceived idea that Zimmerman was just what they were saying he was, this over-zealous, racist wanna-be cop that tracked down this innocent kid and just shot him in cold blood, and it wasn’t like that,” Farris said. “NBC had edited one of the 911 tapes. … It was terrible, man. So not that I think George Zimmerman was innocent, he did kill the kid, but the way the law reads is the way it reads. In my opinion, if you just wanted to base it off of the instructions to the jury, there was no way they could convict him.” He added, “I just got really, really caught up in that trial.”

As for politics, he said, “I’m not actively out raising money or campaigning, but I’ve been meeting with a lot of people, having a lot of lunch and coffee meetings and kind of laying the groundwork for some things.” He added, “I’m kind of considering all the options now. … My desire to be in public service in Idaho and do what I can to make a difference in Idaho is as strong as it’s ever been.”

Farris says he’ll run against Labrador again in 2014

1st Congressional District Democratic candidate Jimmy Farris, who polled 30.8 percent to GOP Rep. Raul Labrador's 63 percent in the final, unofficial results, has released this statement:

“I want to thank the many people who put their faith in me and honored me with their vote. Their support was invaluable and I look forward to adding to their numbers in the next campaign. Running a campaign is not an easy task, but this was just the beginning. We learned a great deal and made major inroads this time around, and we are ready to continue building on what we started. Next time we have to work harder and smarter – it’s going to be a challenge, but we will not turn back now.

“We still need to end the gridlock and division that has crippled Congress. We brought a lot of issues to the forefront in this campaign, and when Congressman Labrador returns to Washington, we will be watching to make sure he is doing his job. “I am committed to devoting myself to public service and to giving the First District the representation it deserves. Our next journey starts today. We are headed full steam ahead towards a victory in 2014.”

Labrador holds big lead in bid for 2nd term; Simpson has 68%

Freshman GOP Congressman Raul Labrador appears headed toward a second term, with a big lead over Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris and two other candidates. With 34 percent of the vote in the 1st Congressional District counted, Labrador had 64 percent to Farris' 31 percent. Libertarian Rob Oates had 3 percent, and “Pro-Life,” formerly known as Marvin Richardson, had 2 percent.

Labrador, a former state lawmaker and attorney, has made a name for himself in his first term as a tea party favorite and hard-line conservative. “Washington has not changed me,” he declared during his campaign.

Farris, a former NFL football player and Lewiston native who was making his first run for office, said, “I'm pleased with the campaign we ran. I feel like I was able to … give people a choice.”

Farris said he's likely to run for office again in two years.

Meanwhile, in the 2nd Congressional District race, with 47 percent of the vote counted, GOP Rep. Mike Simpson had 68 percent to Democratic challenger Nicole LeFavour's 32 percent.

Labrador: Raise Social Security retirement age to 70

Here's a link to my full story at on last night's lively debate between Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador and his Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris. During the face-off, Labrador backed raising the Social Security retirement age to 70, cutting a third of the staff at the Pentagon and banning all abortions other than those to save the life of the mother. Farris differed sharply on the retirement age and abortion, but found common ground with Labrador on trimming military spending. “I think there are a number of places that we would agree and admit that we can find savings,” Farris said. “If Pentagon staff is one of them, I'd certainly like to look at it.”

Labrador said people are living much longer now than they were when Social Security and Medicare were started, and people like himself, at age 44, have to recognize “that I'm going to have a different program than exists today.” Farris disagreed, saying a better way to ensure the solvency of Social Security would be to raise the cap on earnings subject to the Social Security tax.

On abortion, Labrador said he opposes making exceptions for victims of rape or incest. “I think life begins at conception, so I believe it's important that we protect life,” he said. Farris said, “This is an issue where we strongly disagree. I do support a woman's right to choose what happens to her body. … I don't think it's the government's place to be making decisions for women about their health care.” You can watch the full debate online at

Labrador, Farris face off in lively debate

1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador and Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris faced off in a lively debate tonight on Idaho Public Television. Among the highlights: Labrador called for raising the retirement age for Social Security to 70 and cutting a third of the staff at the Pentagon; and said he backs banning all abortions except to save the life of the mother. Farris opposed raising the retirement age and instead called for raising the cap on earnings taxed for Social Security; and agreed with Labrador that cuts in defense spending could reduce waste. Labrador said, “The first decision I made in Congress was to actually listen to Walt Minnick,” his Democratic predecessor, who urged him to hire his constituent services chief. “She has been the best decision I made as a congressman,” Labrador said.

I'll have a full report tomorrow. For more on the Idaho Debates, click here.

Washington Post Magazine profiles Idaho Dem congressional candidate Farris

The Washington Post Magazine has an extensive story today about Idaho Democratic congressional candidate Jimmy Farris, the former NFL football player and first-time candidate who's running against 1st District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador. The article, headed, “Election 2012: Former Redskins player Jimmy Farris in the run of his life in Idaho,” is a warts-and-all tale of a neophyte candidate who takes on a political contest facing long odds, and particularly financially, discovers just how hard it can be. It's an interesting read; you can read it here.

1st CD debate is tonight on Idaho Public TV

Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador will debate his Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, tonight on live statewide TV. The debate starts at 8 p.m. Mountain time, 7 p.m. Pacific time on Idaho Public Television; it'll run for an hour, and take place before a live audience in the state Capitol Auditorium. The public is invited to attend, and is asked to arrive early; doors will close several minutes before the live broadcast begins.

The event is part of the Idaho Debates, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Idaho Press Club and Idaho Public Television, along with an array of other sponsors; they've been a tradition in Idaho election contests for more than three decades. There's more info here.

Greg Hahn of Idaho Public TV will moderate tonight's debate; reporters who will question the candidates include myself, Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman, and Scott Logan of KBOI2 News. On Sunday night, the Idaho Debates will feature the 2nd Congressional District race, with GOP Congressman Mike Simpson debating his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Nicole LeFavour. That debate will begin at 7 p.m., also in the Capitol Auditorium before a live audience; Hahn will moderate, and reporter panelists will be Melissa Davlin of the Twin Falls Times-News, Clark Corbin of the Idaho Falls Post Register, and Emilie Ritter-Saunders of StateImpact Idaho.

It’s Debates Week in Idaho’s congressional races…

It's debates week in Idaho's congressional races, with two debates scheduled tonight, one on Thursday, and another on Sunday. 1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador and his Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, will face off at 7 tonight on KTVB-TV's 24/7 channel, and again in the Idaho Debates on Thursday on Idaho Public Television.

Thursday's debate will air live statewide, starting at 8 p.m. Mountain time, 7 p.m. Pacific; the hour-long debate will take place before a live audience in the Capitol Auditorium on the lower level of the state Capitol. The public is invited, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis; the doors will close several minutes before the debate begins. Those interested in attending are advised to arrive early. The Idaho Debates are sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Idaho Press Club and Idaho Public Television, along with an array of other sponsors; they've been a tradition in Idaho election contests for more than three decades.

2nd District GOP Congressman Mike Simpson and his Democratic challenger, Nicole LeFavour, also will debate tonight on KTVB's 24/7 channel, starting at 8 p.m. They'll face off again in the Idaho Debates on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. That matchup also will take place before a live audience in the Capitol Auditorium.

For more information about the KTVB debates, see their website here; for more on the Idaho Debates, see their website here.

A look at Labrador’s record as he seeks re-election to 1st CD seat…

As Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador seeks re-election for a second term in Congress, he’s made a name for himself in Washington, D.C., as a tea party favorite and hard-line conservative. He’s frequently appeared on national TV and has been prominent in helping GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney court Hispanic votes around the country.

Yet his legislative record for his two-year term is light - he's introduced and passed fewer bills than his three first-term predecessors in the 1st Congressional District seat.

Labrador has sponsored seven bills and one amendment; one bill and one amendment passed the House. By comparison, his predecessor, Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick, sponsored 27 bills or amendments in his two years in Congress and 10 passed. Before him, GOP Rep. Bill Sali sponsored 16 bills and four amendments in his two years in office; one bill and two amendments passed. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, who held the seat for three terms before Sali won it, sponsored 14 bills and one amendment in his first two-year term; four bills and the amendment passed.

“I don't think that your legislative career is measured by how many bills you pass,” Labrador said. “In fact, one of the problems in Washington now is that we pass too many bills. We have a bloated government and we need less of it.”

His Democratic challenger, former NFL football player and first-time candidate Jimmy Farris, sees it differently. “He's had a lot of harsh rhetoric about Democrats,” Farris said. But Farris said if he went to a football team and said he was a good player and the team should sign him, “They'll say, 'That's great - let's look at the numbers.'” He maintains the numbers show Labrador to be a weak player, from his attendance record to his legislative batting average.

Jim Weatherby, emeritus professor of public policy at Boise State University, said, “In a race with an opponent who had resources to make an issue, it could be a potential area of vulnerability for Labrador, with few legislative accomplishments combined with a relatively high absentee record.” But, he said, “In this conservative Idaho district, in a presidential election year where Democrats don't do well generally anyway, I can understand why it's hard - against a very conservative congressman who has an engaging personality and who is a pretty effective campaigner.”

Though Labrador, who's raised nearly $800,000 in campaign funds, could afford TV ads for his campaign, he's chosen not to bother. “I think we're doing everything we need to do to get re-elected,” he said.

Labrador's legislative record shows he's co-sponsored 138 bills proposed by other House members. Among those, seven were to repeal all or part of the national health care reform law; five to restrict abortion rights, including a bill to grant full constitutional rights at conception; and five to expand gun rights. You can read my full story here at

1st CD finance reports in: Labrador flush with cash, Farris not so much

1st Congressional District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador reports today that he's raised $177,609 in the latest campaign finance reporting period - a total of $797,686 for the election cycle to date; he's spent $87,073 ($510,197 to date), and had $290,984 in cash for his campaign at the close of the reporting period, which ran from July 1 to Sept. 30. His Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, reported raising $32,606 in the reporting period - $69,993 to date; spending $31,024 ($60,086 to date), and had just $9,888 on hand at the close of the reporting period.

You can read Farris' 54-page report here, and Labrador's 115-page report here, both at the Federal Election Commission website.

Just over half of Farris' fundraising for the period, $17,000, came from unions. The rest was from individuals, including online donations through the ActBlue Democratic fundraising site, or from Democratic Party committees.

Labrador raised $119,109 from individuals, including lots of business owners and top executives in Idaho, and $58,500 from PACs during the reporting period. His biggest single donation was $10,000 from The Freedom Project, House Speaker John Boehner's House GOP leadership PAC; he also received $2,000 from Friends of John Boehner. Other donations of note to Labrador were a total of $10,000, in four pieces, from two couples from Louisiana who own one of the largest vessel brokerage businesses in the Gulf of Mexico serving the oil and gas industry; $1,000 each from two out-of-state Indian tribes, in Minnesota and Washington; and $2,500 this period for a total of $7,500 to date from the beer wholesalers' PAC.

Labrador continued to pay his wife, Becca, a $2,063 per month salary for her work on the campaign.

Both Labrador and Farris used some of their campaign funds for expenditures identified as political donations. Farris gave $5,000 to the Idaho Democratic Party. Labrador gave $10,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee; $5,332 to the Idaho Republican Party; $500 to the Idaho Freedom Foundation; $310 to the Conservative Women of Idaho State PAC; and $1,000 each to the re-election campaigns of GOP Reps. Joe Walsh of Illinois and Jeffrey Landry of Louisiana.

Eric Cantor to help Labrador raise funds in Idaho; Barney Frank pitches for funds for Farris

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will come to Idaho the week after next to hold a fundraiser for GOP Rep. Raul Labrador. Labrador said, “I am thrilled that Congressman Eric Cantor is coming to Idaho. He is a thoughtful and effective leader who understands the challenges Idaho families face everyday. I look forward to helping him become better acquainted with our great state.” The Oct. 24 event will feature a roundtable discussion with Cantor and Labrador, followed by a reception; PACs pay $2,500 for the discussion, individuals are $1,000 a head; and it's $250 to attend the reception and get a photo; there's more info here.

Meanwhile, longtime Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank sent out a fundraising email this week for Labrador's Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, writing, “The Tea Party extremists have essentially taken over the Republican Party, and the right wing majority on the Supreme Court has guaranteed that these extremists will have virtually unlimited fat cat money being spent on their behalf. Since their substantive record is indefensible, they have gone on the attack, and Democratic candidates face a barrage of twisted, demagogic attacks.” Urging donations to Farris, Frank's email said, “We have to fight back against the Tea Partiers and their wealthy backers, which is why I volunteered to help Jimmy, who is one of their targets, because of his commitment to the values we believe in, and that they have never been so seriously challenged as they are this year.”

Labrador heads to Florida to stump for Romney, Farris faults him for missing House votes

Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reports that 1st Congressional District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador has decided to campaign for Mitt Romney in Florida today, despite potentially missing 27 scheduled votes in the House just days after he came in for criticism for his election opponent, Democrat Jimmy Farris, for missing more votes than all three of his predecessors in Congress and than anyone else in the delegation. Popkey writes that Labrador “is joining Mitt Romney at a critical moment in Romney's outreach to Hispanic voters, which also offers an opportunity to turn the page on this week's 47-percent flap.” You can read his full report here.

Meanwhile, Farris has issued a press release declaring that Labrador “already broke his promise” from earlier this week to improve his attendance at congressional votes. “He’s choosing Florida over Idaho,” Farris said in the release. “He’s choosing to ingratiate himself to Mitt Romney in the hopes of getting a new job, instead of doing the job he already has. … The citizens of the First District have no voice in Congress today – because Labrador is busy interviewing for his next government job.”

In the end, Labrador ended up missing just two recorded votes in the House today; the rest of those that had been scheduled were either delayed to later this week, or approved on unrecorded voice votes.

Labrador will join Romney as the GOP presidential candidate appears in a candidate forum on Spanish-language TV network Univision and at a “Juntos Por Romney” rally afterward, which translates to “Together for Romney.”

Farris raps Labrador over missed votes, more loom as Labrador pitches for Romney

Jimmy Farris, the Democratic challenger to 1st District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador, is criticizing Labrador for missing votes at triple the rate of his three predecessors, the Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey reports today, and Labrador is acknowledging Farris has a point. “I don’t think it’s acceptable,” Labrador told Popkey. “Of course, if my son gets sick, I’ll miss as many votes as I have to miss. But no, I think I can get that down. The people of Idaho hired me to do a job and I should be there.” Farris accused Labrador of a “lack of work ethic,” and said voters should fire him.

Labrador cited three major reasons for his 72 missed votes: His now-9-year-old son’s weeklong hospitalization in 2011, the first-ever GOP presidential caucus in March, and his own primary in May. Those prompted him to miss full days of votes. Also, he said, five delayed flights from Idaho caused him to miss more.

But Popkey also reports in a follow-up today that if Labrador goes to Florida as scheduled Wednesday to campaign for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in part by doing an evening TV interview with Spanish-language network Univision, he'll miss 27 scheduled votes just that day. You can read Popkey's full report here, and his follow-up here.

Labrador helps pitch Romney to Hispanic voters in Colo., Nev.; Farris says Idaho ignored

Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey had an interesting report over the weekend on how freshman Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador has been campaigning in Nevada and Colorado for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, joining former SBA chief Hector Barreto and Romney's Spanish-speaking son Craig to pitch Romney to Hispanic voters, including addressing Hispanic business groups and doing interviews with Spanish-language media. You can read Popkey's full report here, which also examines other to Idaho officials' close ties to the Romney campaign. Now, Labrador's Democratic opponent, Jimmy Farris, has issued a news release criticizing Labrador for the move, saying he's ignoring voters in his home state.

“Congressman Labrador is ignoring the people of Idaho,” Farris said in his release; click below to read it in full. “He’s in Colorado and Nevada wooing Hispanic voters for Romney, but he’s failing to answer the simplest of questions from voters in his own state.” Labrador has consistently refused to comment on anything Farris has brought up in the campaign so far, though he has agreed to debate him on live statewide TV on Oct. 25; the debate will air on Idaho Public Television.

Farris releases 10 years’ tax returns, calls on Labrador to do the same

Idaho 1st District Congressional candidate Jimmy Farris released 10 years of his income tax returns today, and called on incumbent Congressman Raul Labrador to do the same. Labrador immediately rebuffed the request. “He just said, 'No comment,'” said Labrador's campaign spokeswoman, China Gum.

Farris, at a news conference in downtown Meridian, declared, “In the spirit of George Romney and Frank Church, I think it's important that our elected officials show the utmost amount of transparency.” Romney, father of current GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, famously released 12 years of his tax returns when he was running for president in 1967.

Longtime Idaho Sen. Frank Church released his tax returns not only when he ran for president in 1976, but throughout his many years in the Senate. His widow, Bethine Church, recalled Thursday, “His colleagues got sort of mad at him over it, because it put the pressure on them. … He just thought it was fair that people know where his money was coming from. … He said it was important to have his integrity.”

Farris, a former NFL football player and Lewiston native, released tax returns from 2001 to 2010 that cover the entire arc of his professional football career, from his rookie year with the New England Patriots in 2001 when his wages were $70,020, to his peak earning year with the Atlanta Falcons in 2004, when he earned more than $350,000. A Spokesman-Review analysis of his returns shows he paid more than $73,000 in taxes in 2004, 21 percent of his earnings that year, and donated $62,443 to charity, nearly 18 percent of his income.

Over the 10 years, the analysis showed, he donated $204,526 to charity, mainly through church programs; in 2006, he gave nearly a quarter of his income to charity.

“One of the reasons why I'm running is because of the importance of giving back and paying it forward and doing what I can to help people,” Farris said. “One of the things you'll see in my tax returns is a significant amount of charitable contributions that I've made. They are in line with what I've said before, that I really, really value helping out and giving a hand to people.” You can read my full story here at

Candidate Farris has TV ad, but still trying to raise the money to actually air it…

1st District Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris has a “buoyant” 60-second TV ad filmed and ready to go, but doesn't have the cash yet to actually run it, reports Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey. Popkey reports that Farris, a former NFL football player and Lewiston native, is hoping to tap his former teammates in a fundraising push. You can read Popkey's report here, and see Farris' ad here, which opens with the broad-shouldered young man on the state Capitol steps, saying, “People from small towns know how to dream big. … My dreams never included being a politician, but I always wanted to make a difference.”

Labrador, Farris speak out on health care reform repeal vote

Idaho 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador today defended his vote in the House to repeal the national health care reform law, saying, “Since my time in the Idaho State Legislature, it has become clear to me that Idahoans oppose every aspect of Obamacare. … This law forces Idahoans to purchase a product against their will under the threat of paying a tax for not doing so.”

Meanwhile, his Democratic challenger, former NFL football player Jimmy Farris, criticized the vote, saying Congress shouldn't be backing repeal of help for uninsured Idahoans while its members enjoy health insurance benefits. “The fact is, Congressman Labrador is a well paid obstructionist with no plan,” Farris declared in a statement. “While making $174,000 and enjoying a Cadillac health care plan provided by the taxpayers, he abandons 294,000 uninsured.”

2nd District Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson also voted for the repeal in the House today; it passed on a 244-185 vote, with five Democrats siding with all House Republicans. The vote was symbolic, as repeal doesn't have the votes to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. It followed dozens of similar House votes in the last year and a half.

Labrador said, “I will continue to fight to repeal Obamacare in Congress until the job is done. We must enact real health care reform such as health savings accounts, tort reform and association health plans which will lower the cost of and increase access to health care. We can even look at retaining such provisions as coverage for pre-existing conditions or the ability to keep our kids on our insurance for a longer time - but we must find ways to do so without raising taxes on millions of Americans.” You can read Labrador's full statement here.

Farris countered that the repeal vote sought to do away with those very provisions protecting young people and those with pre-existing conditions, without proposing replacement programs; and also would reverse a ban on insurance companies imposing lifetime caps on benefits. He called on Labrador to reveal how he'd reform the health care system and cover uninsured Idahoans; click below to read his full statement.

Farris to Dems: ‘It’s about bringing people together, not dividing them’

Idaho Democrats are gathered for their state party convention today and tomorrow in Boise, while Idaho Republicans will gather for their state convention next Thursday through Saturday in Twin Falls. At today's Democratic confab, 1st District congressional candidate Jimmy Farris was the luncheon speaker, drawing an enthusiastic response from a crowd of about 100. Farris, a former NFL football player and Lewiston native, was wearing his Super Bowl ring, and led off by thanking his “team,” as he  introduced his campaign staffers. Farris looks younger than his 34 years, and has an unmistakably athletic bearing, particularly when he doffed his jacket and worked the crowd.

“I've accomplished a lot and learned a lot and sacrificed a lot, and ultimately I'm running because I care a lot, I want to make a difference,” he said earnestly before his speech. “Don't let the young face fool ya.”

He shared stories from his NFL days, decried the current state of things in Idaho from school funding to unemployment to crumbling infrastructure to high numbers of uninsured, and said his experience has been rooted in “working with people from different backgrounds and being able to work together” to solve problems. He also painted freshman GOP Rep. Raul Labrador, the incumbent, as a promoter of “division and gridlock.” Said Farris, “That's what this campaign is all about. It's about bringing people together, not dividing them. It's about being part of a team, not a … one-man show.”

Farris acknowledged he has a “tough campaign” ahead of him, challenging a sitting congressman from a Republican state who's become a tea party favorite in the nation's capital. “I say here today it's time we put Congressman Raul Labrador on waivers,” Farris declared. “Let's give him a two-year head start on his run for governor.” Among those in the audience was former state Sen. Mary Lou Reed, D-Coeur d'Alene, who called Farris “refreshingly strong” and “a very smart guy.”

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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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