BOISE – The Idaho Republican Party is hiring two full-time staff members to campaign on behalf of newly nominated GOP congressional candidate Raul Labrador, who’s challenging 1st District Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick.
Jonathan Parker, state GOP executive director, said he requested the funds for the two positions from the Republican National Committee, “essentially making the point that you can’t take Idaho for granted” and that “we’re going to have to do everything in our power” to unseat Minnick.
Minnick was unopposed in last week’s primary election, but Labrador won a contest in which he upset Iraq war veteran Vaughn Ward, despite Ward’s big fund-raising lead and nine-month head start on campaigning.
According to the latest campaign finance reports, Labrador had just $35,919 on hand as of May 5 for his campaign, while Minnick had $935,828.
The two staffers will be a “victory director,” Lindsay Hemmer, who will be based in Boise, and a North Idaho field office head, Jeff Ward, the current president of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans group. Both will start June 8.
Minnick’s campaign manager, John Foster, said, “My friend Jonathan Parker obviously understands what everyone has known for a long time, is that this is going to be a ground game. And if it’s won or lost on the ground, I’m quite confident that Walt will be successful in November.”
Parker said the two new staffers will be “100 percent paid for by the Idaho Republican Party” – with money from the RNC – and not by the Labrador campaign. They will be “tasked with helping the GOP reclaim the 1st Congressional District by using the tools of the Idaho Republican Party to essentially run a parallel campaign against Walt Minnick.”
Labrador, who is in transition from a team of volunteers who ran his primary campaign to a new team, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.