February 14, 2012 in Idaho

Labrador launches re-election campaign

By The Spokesman-Review
Betsy Russell photo

Idaho congressman Raul Labrador greets state Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, after launching his re-election bid Monday on the state Capitol steps in Boise.
(Full-size photo)

BOISE – Idaho congressman Raul Labrador launched his re-election bid Monday, flanked by more than 30 state lawmakers and a bevy of the state’s top GOP elected officials, declaring, “Washington has not changed me.”

Some evidence: The freshman congressman hasn’t rented a home in Washington, D.C. – he’s sleeping on his office couch and returning to Idaho and his family each weekend.

Labrador and his wife, Becca, looked at possible homes in the D.C. area for the family when he first was elected, but decided against getting a place, at least for now. “I have kids in high school,” he said. “I want to make sure they still have those Idaho roots.” Labrador said if re-elected, he’ll continue sleeping on his office couch for the next two years.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, with whom Labrador clashed as a state lawmaker when Labrador led House opposition to Otter’s proposed gas tax increase, lauded him at the Boise announcement, saying, “It’s awfully important that we have a voice in Washington, D.C., that speaks loud and clear about the new Republicanism and the federalism that we believe in Idaho. And Raul along with the rest of the delegation has been at the forefront for that.”

Labrador is being challenged in his bid for a second House term by Democrat Jimmy Farris, a former NFL football player and Lewiston native who’s making his first run for office.

Labrador, an outspoken conservative who’s been a tea party favorite in Washington, D.C., spoke proudly of his votes in Congress, including opposing reauthorization of the Patriot Act, supporting repeal of the national health care reform law, voting to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, and opposing the National Defense Reauthorization Act because “it failed to clearly protect U.S. citizens from indefinite detention.”

He also alluded to his recent televised scrap with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder during a congressional hearing over the “Fast and Furious” gun-trafficking investigation. Labrador told Holder that he was incompetent and should resign, which prompted Holder to respond that Labrador was disrespectful and out of line.

“Maybe this is the way you do things in Idaho or wherever you’re from,” Holder told Labrador.

Said Labrador on Monday, “Yes, Mr. Holder, to answer your question, that is how we do things in Idaho. We ask direct questions and we get direct answers.”

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