Idaho 1st District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador announced Wednesday that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is endorsing Labrador for governor of Idaho in 2018.
Cruz won Idaho’s 13-candidate 2016 GOP presidential primary with 45.4 percent of the vote to Donald Trump’s 28.1 percent. Labrador was a supporter of Rand Paul for president, serving as his Western campaign chairman; but after Paul dropped out of the race, Labrador endorsed Cruz in February of 2016, and then actively campaigned around the country for Trump in the weeks prior to the general election.
“I’ve worked closely with Raul Labrador over the past few years to advance conservative policies for our country and I can tell you he is one of the most effective, dedicated, and honest men I have known,” Cruz said in a statement. “His fierce commitment to conservative values, his respect for our Constitution, and his pledge to making government accountable to the people will make him a great governor and I’m proud to endorse his candidacy.”
Labrador said, “It’s been a privilege to work alongside Sen. Cruz in Congress to promote policies that support these ideals, and I’m humbled to have his support in this campaign.”
Labrador is in a hotly contested race for the GOP nomination for governor in 2018, with rivals including current Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Boise businessman and physician Tommy Ahlquist. A half-dozen lesser-known candidates also have formed fundraising committees to run for the post.
Last week, former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney endorsed Ahlquist, appearing with him at an Idaho Falls campaign rally.
A PAC allied with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also announced Wednesday that it would back Labrador.
“No surprise here that D.C. politicians and their special interest groups are supporting another D.C. politician,” said David Johnston, Ahlquist’s campaign manager. “Is Congressman Labrador running for Congress again, or is he running for governor of Idaho?”
Little’s campaign had no comment on Labrador’s endorsements, but came back with one of its own: Gem County Commission Chairman Bill Butticci, former mayor of Emmett, where Little was born and raised. Butticci said Little’s family has been “a pillar of the Emmett community for generations,” and said, “I have never run for president of the United States, but I am a conservative Idahoan, and from my vantage point no one else is better suited to be governor than Brad Little.”
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