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Sheriff Arpaio Endorses Raul Labrador

A Berry Picker sends along this photo from Buck Knives, where controversial Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arapaio, right, talks with Kellie Palm of the Kootenai County Republican Women Federation and Chuck Buck Sr. of Buck Knives. Arpaio will be the guess speaker at the Republican Women’s annual Women In Red event at the Coeur d’Alene Resort tonight.

At a press conference that ended a few moments ago at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorsed Raul Labrador’s candidacy for Congress. Labrador was in attendance with his wife, Rebecca. At one point, Arpaio was asked if he was endorsing Labrador. And he said simply that he liked the Republican legislator and that he was. As you may recall, there was quite a brouhaha among Republican women when Labrador sought one-on-one face time with Arpaio before tonight’s Women in Red event.

 Question: Why was Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s endorsement so important to Raul Labrador?

Minnick Jabs Again On Immigration

Rep. Walt Minnick isn’t backing off of his criticism of Republican opponent Raul Labrador’s work in immigration law. In a guest opinion, the 1st District Democratic incumbent defends his controversial TV ad criticizing Labrador, and adds a new wrinkle: Minnick says Labrador sold his clients immigration documents that they could have received through the government. “Raul’s business website sold immigration documents that could be obtained for free from the U.S. government, taking advantage of those who did not know better,” Minnick writes in his guest opinion/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Obviously, Minnick realizes that opponent Raul Labrador is vulnerable on the immigration issue, unless I’m misreading the situation. What do you think?

Labrador, Spanish Broadcaster Mix It Up

First District GOP nominee Raul Labrador told an incredulous Jorge Ramos that 11 million illegal immigrants should return to their home countries and apply for readmission. Labrador appeared Sunday on Univision’s “Al Punto” (“To the Point”), the network’s equivalent of “Meet the Press” and other Sunday public affairs programs. Univision is the No. 5 TV network in the U.S. and reaches 95 percent of the 48 million Hispanics in the country. “Al Punto” draws an average of 948,000 viewers and draws more adults aged 18 to 49 than “Fox News Sunday”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Is illegal immigration an issue for you in the 1st Congressional District race?

George: Aide Lied About Minnick Grade

In a Coeur d’Alene Press op-ed piece, local Democratic leader Thom George writes: “On Sept. 28, 2010, the Coeur d’Alene Press printed an opinion piece by Jeff Ward in which he complained about “a lot of untruths, half truths, and bald-faced lies” that are told during a political campaign. And then mere sentences later he told a “bald-faced lie” about Congressman Walt Minnick’s NRA rating, knowingly and falsely claiming the Congressman had a rating of D+ instead of the factual rating of B+. According to a report on the Idaho Reporter website, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said Minnick voted with the NRA 100 percent of the time in the U.S. House and scored well on its questionnaire for candidates. Jeff, there you go again.” More here.

Question: At this point, when Congressman Walt Minnick’s grade from the NRA should be well known to all, is there any excuse for Republicans to purposely misrepresent it?

Raul Labrador On Immigration Reform

Question: What do you think of Republican Raul Labrador’s position on immigration reform?

HBO Poll: Puerto Rico Event Troubling

  • Thursday Poll: 54 of 102 (52.94%) voted that they are bothered that a fund-raiser was held in Puerto Rico for Republican Raul Labrador Thursday night. 40 of 102 (39.22%) say they weren’t bothered by the Puerto Rico fund-raiser. 8 respondents were undecided.
  • Weekend Poll: Which regional incumbent is most vulnerable in his/her re-election bid — Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna, Congressman Walt Minnick, or Gov. Butch Otter?

Inlander Views Minnick-Labrador Race

Minnick, in one television ad, says that he is “right for Idaho” without ever mentioning that he’s a Democrat. Just this week, Minnick is quoted in Congressional Quarterly saying he would not necessarily vote for Pelosi as speaker should the Democrats retain control of the House. “It’s pragmatic politics. It’s something that is sorely missing and sorely needed in our state government and our federal government,” says Thom George, chair of the Kootenai County Democrats. “In the Idaho Democratic Party, we have come to realize we live in a conservative state and what flies in the rest of the nation does not fly in Idaho”/Kevin Taylor, Inlander. More here.

Question: Do you think most Idaho Democrats have gotten the message that Thom George is selling about Walt Minnick in this Inlander article by Kevin Taylor — that “what flies in the rest of the nation does not fly in Idaho”?

Labrador To Attend Puerto Rico Event

Labrador will attend a fundraiser hosted by Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno at 6 tonight in Miramar. Among the other dignitaries is Labrador’s half-brother, Eric Labrador, who served in the Cabinet of a former governor. Labrador, a native of Puerto Rico, says Fortuno is among the most conservative governors in the U.S. “The governor invited me to come,” Labrador told the Statesman. “The Republican Party of Puerto Rico is putting this together.” The event is at the Excelsior Tower, with contributions set at $500 per person or $2,000 per political action committee/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: As I mentioned here a couple of days ago, some local Republican women are bothered that Raul Labrador will be in Puerto Rico tonight for a fund-raiser. Are you?

Tea Party Boise Endorses Labrador

Tea Party Boise has set two 2-hour town halls with 1st District Republican nominee Raul Labrador and not invited incumbent Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick. “We’ve made our choice and we want people to have a chance to ask him some tough questions,” said Brendan Smythe, president of the group. “We made the decision based on principles.” Tea Party Boise endorsed Labrador over then-favorite Vaughn Ward in the May GOP primary. Had Ward won, Smythe said the group’s general election endorsement may have gone to Minnick. “We’ve been reaching out to him and I have a good relationship with his staff”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Are you surprised that Tea Party Boise supported Labrador?

USA Today Feats Renegade Labrador

First District nominee Raul Labrador is among “a handful of U.S. House candidates (who) are poised to reshape the Republican Party — and its agenda,” according to a USA Today story published Monday. Labrador, a two-term state representative from Eagle, provides the first quote in the story, telling the national newspaper, “People rejected the Republicans because they weren’t sticking to their principles. This new young crop of congressmen is going to make a difference”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Which 1st Congressional District candidate is more of a maverick — Democrat Walt Minnick or Republican Raul Labrador?

EOB: Labrador plans fundraiser in Puerto Rico

Idaho GOP congressional hopeful Raul Labrador plans to travel to his native Puerto Rico next week to raise money for his campaign against Democratic U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick, the AP reports, with a $500-per-person reception next Thursday. More here at Eye on Boise


Ward: Idaho Press Helps Minnick

Jeff Ward (pictured), the North Idaho Field Director for the Idaho Republican Party’s 2010 campaign said that, “a lot of untruths, half-truths and bald-faced lies are spread during a campaign”; and that while Republican could not get away with “weaving fairy tales” due to the efforts of the press, the Democrats could.  That was the inference of a press release from Ward over the weekend.  “Democrats have been freely able to manipulate the Idaho press in so many ways this year,” said Ward in the release; “especially when it comes to media darlings; Walter Clifford Minnick and his spinmeister general John Foster”/Stan McKie, Examiner.com. More here.

Question: Is the Idaho press easily manipulated by Democrats, as Jeff Ward alleges?

Minnick Leads By Only 3% In NIdaho

Meanwhile, the poll showed Idaho’s U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick with a 10-point lead over his GOP challenger, Raul Labrador, throughout the 1st Congressional District. But in North Idaho, the numbers change to a statistical dead heat: 43 percent for Minnick and 40 percent for Labrador. That’s within the poll’s margin of error. Political scientist David Adler, director of the University of Idaho’s James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy, said the north-south difference reflects a stronger tea party movement in the north along with “a great deal of anti-Obama sentiment.” That shows up in both the congressional race and the governor’s race, he noted, with Otter’s edge growing in the north/Joel Mills, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Are you surprised the Tea Party movement is stronger in North Idaho than elsewhere in the state?

Jorgenson Condemns Minnick Attack Ad

I have had several disagreements with Raul Labrador over the past four years with respect to legislation in the Idaho Legislature.  Many of my comments towards him have reflected the passion of which I hold for fighting the terrible scourge of illegal immigration in our nation and in the great state of Idaho.  I openly supported his challenger in the primary.  While I have not spoken with Rep. Labrador in many months, if he were elected to Congress I would probably still disagree with some elements of how he would fight illegal immigration.   I would certainly hope he considers some of my positions on the subject. However, none of the passion I have reserved for my disagreement with Rep. Labrador can compare with how appalled and disappointed I was when I viewed the attack ad that Walt Minnick released yesterday against him/State Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake. More here.

Question: Do you think Minnick wishes he could get a do-over on this one?

NRA Won’t Endorse In 1st CD Race

Two years after the NRA endorsed GOP Rep. Bill Sali and gave his challenger, Democrat Walt Minnick, a “D+,” the powerful gun-rights group says now-Rep. Minnick has cleaned up his act and jumped two full grades. “Very simply, he has been a solid vote on gun issues and he’s been supportive of 2nd Amendment issues since he’s been elected,” said Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA’s director of public affairs. The GOP nominee, state Rep. Raul Labrador, earned an “A,” but the NRA is staying neutral in the race, said Arulanandam/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

DFO: I watched (via Spokane TV newscast) that close encounter between the Reagan Republicans & local Demo chief Thom George on the NW Blvd corner Friday night. The funniest part of this tempest in a teapot that Thom had a concealed weapons permit & was packing.]

Question: Is the National Rifle Association wise to stay out of this gun-rights flap between Congressman Walt Minnick & challenger Raul Labrador?

Liberal Daily Kos Calls Minnick A Bigot

In the Daily Kos, the main blogger blasts Congressman Walt Minnick’s controversial, new ad re: challenger Raul Labrador’s role as an immigration lawyers. Kos states: “I expect Republicans to be bigoted assholes. It’s particularly heinous when Democrats do it.” Kos continues: “Minnick is up 20 in the polls, while his opponent is broke and has zero institutional support (he’s a teabagger who beat the establishment’s choice). It’s a done race, yet Minnick decides to be a bigot anyway by attacking his opponent’s work as an immigration lawyer.” You can read the rest of his post and view the video for yourself by following this link here.

Question: Will the attack by the Daily Kos hurt Minnick?

Bloggy: D’s Should Vote For Labrador

RE: Liberal Daily Kos calls Minnick a bigot over immigration ad

Mr. Bloggy: I mean, at what point is Walt gonna sign onto the Tea Party Bill of Rights and hustle up some photo ops with Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann? Here, let me make it simple for the ones who don’t get it, when you oppose, legislatively, the key initiatives of your president and party drawn from the core principles, when you show zero inclination of belief that government can make life better for the unfortunate, weak, and disadvantaged, has a role in economic recovery, and the Constitution is not just a speedbump on the Bible Bus highway, then you are not a Democrat. You are something else. A republican.

Question: Do Idaho Democrats march to the beat of the Daily Kos?

Richert: Minnick Ad Goes Too Far

Rep. Walt Minnick is stretching Raul Labrador’s words. But Labrador shouldn’t be surprised that his immigration law practice is coming under harsh scrutiny. Minnick turned up the heat and hit the airwaves Thursday with the toughest TV ad of the fall election season. The 1st Congressional District Democrat’s 30-second ad gets right to the point. Here’s the first sentence: “Illegal immigration’s good business for Raul Labrador”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Opinion Editor Kevin Richert on his Idaho Statesman blog says that Minnick went “aggressively negative” with this ad — and perhaps too far. What do you think?

Labrador: Minnick ‘Fat Cat … Insider’

GOP congressional hopeful Raul Labrador has issued a blistering press release in response to incumbent Rep. Walt Minnick’s decision to back out of a scheduled debate against him on KTVB-TV; in it, Labrador recalled Minnick’s comments in 2008 about the value of debates, when he challenged then-Rep. Bill Sali to a series of 10 debates across the district. “What a difference two years makes; it was all the time it took for Walt Minnick to become a fat cat Washington insider who shows nothing but contempt for the voters of Idaho and for his own previously held values,” Labrador declared/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

DFO: I agree with Labrador that it’s B.S. to back out of a debate — whether you’re Walt Minnick or Butch Otter. I don’t buy the ‘Washington insider’ nonsense that Labrador’s trying to sell. But I’m disgusted that incumbents can get away with this stuff.

Question: How about you?

Votemaster: Minnick-Labrador Close

Another newly-released national model from “The Votemaster,” the pseudonym of a computer scientist named Andrew Tanenbaum, lists Idaho’s 1st Congressional District as too close to call.  Tanenbaum’s prediction model labels the race a tossup because Minnick is the incumbent in a district that traditionally favors Republicans. “Democrats not in strong Democratic districts will be potentially vulnerable,” Tanenbaum said on his website.  His model doesn’t use poll information for the Minnick-Labrador race.  Most polls of the race have favored Minnick. Tanenbaum’s House prediction uses fewer pieces of information than Silver, though both have had success in projecting election results.  Both Tanenbaum and Silver correctly guessed how 49 states voted in the 2008 presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain, with both missing on Indiana/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Do you think the race between Democrat Walt Minnick and Republican Raul Labrador is too close to call?

Poll: Minnick Up Big Over Labrador

If the General Election was held today, who would you most likely vote for in the U.S. Representative, District 1 race? 

  • Walt Minnick, 416 responses, 59.8%
  • Dave Olson, 38 responses, 5.4%
  • Mick Washburn, 36 responses, 5.2%
  • Raul R. Labrador, 206 responses, 29.6%

Total:  696 votes, 100% (KTVB story here)

Question: Is Raul Labrador’s poor showing in this poll another indication that the Idaho Republican Party is in trouble?

Richert: Will Minnick Be Least Powerful?

Idaho Republicans are looking to make hay from a prominent pundit’s forecast that the GOP will reclaim the House. If Republicans take control of the House, 1st District Democrat Walt Minnick would become “the least powerful congressman on Capitol Hill,” Idaho GOP victory director Phil Hardy said in a statement today. Republican challenger Raul Labrador, meanwhile, would be a prominent newcomer in a GOP House, says Hardy. “He would be one of the few Republican Hispanics in Congress outside of Florida, in a party desperately seeking to attract Hispanic voters. His occupation and ethnicity makes him an ideal spokesman for the party on one of the hottest issues in America — immigration”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What will become of Congressman Walt Minnick, if he wins re-election and the Republicans take over the U.S. House?

Minnick Sidesteps Guilt By Association

Sessions says his party will try to convince voters that casting a ballot for Minnick helps Pelosi and the Democrats. “We’re trying to change the agenda,” Sessions said. “Minnick had a chance to vote for John Boehner.” But so far, the GOP’s “guilt by association” tactic doesn’t appear to be working on Minnick. Which is ironic, considering how successful Republicans appear to be elsewhere as they try to lace the speaker’s agenda around the neck of incumbent Democrats like an albatross. So this may be a good year for the GOP. But at least one Democrat who appeared quite vulnerable last year could emerge victorious in one of the country’s most Republican-leaning districts/Chad Pergram, Fox News. More here.

Question (for mainstream Republicans): Are you tempted to vote for Congressman Walt Minnick this year?

The Hill: R’s Conceding Minnick Win?

In a story in The Hill evaluating the growing strength of the Republican Party in this fall’s elections, reporters Shane D’Aprile and Sean J. Miller write that the race between Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, and Republican Raul Labrador has moved from “toss-up” to “lean Democratic.” The report continues: “Minnick has taken to Twitter to highlight the National Republican Congressional Committee’s reluctance to buy TV ad time in his once-targeted district. After party-favorite Vaughn Ward lost the primary to Raul Labrador, Republicans seem to have abandoned their ambition of unseating the conservative Democrat.” The rest of the story here.

DFO: A person in the know in Kootenai County Republican politics tells me that s/he’s thinking about voting for Minnick — as are a number of his/her Republican friends — thinking they’d rather have the incumbent for 2 more years than risk having a Bill Sali-like representative for the foreseeable future. Dunno if this person has ever voted Republican in a 1st Congressional District race. But it doesn’t bode well for Labrador.

GOP Pooh-Poohs CNN Minnick Report

In an updated post, Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman provides the Idaho GOP reaction to news that Walt Minnick’s effort to retain his seat in the 1st District appears ‘rosy’: “Idaho GOP Executive Director (Jonathan Parker) today reacted with general hilarity to a news report from CNN.com which, among other things, proclaimed Spokane to be part of Idaho and commended the state on miraculously avoiding a downturn in the property market. Parker states, ‘It is truly depressing to see the downfall in the standards of journalism in our country today, I am sure that even Walt Minnick is embarrassed to be mentioned in an article with as many errors and even fewer facts. Idaho is suffering during this crisis and whitewashing its condition to try and build up Walt Minnick won’t fool anyone.’” More here.

Question: Sour grapes? Or does Jonathan Parker make a good point?

CNN: Outlook For Minnick Rosy

Last cycle, Minnick’s war chest was nearly double Sali’s, thanks in part to a $900,000 infusion of his own money. This time around, he hasn’t yet had to open his wallet: as of the most recent FEC filing, he had more than $1.1 million cash on hand, to about $69,000 for his Republican challenger. The remaining wild card is outside spending: Minnick’s been a top GOP target since his win, and conservative groups like Freedom’s Watch and the Club for Growth spent big here last time around. But recent indications that Minnick may have built up a daunting lead — combined with more-competitive races in bordering states that drove up the price of local advertising this summer — may move this race even further down the GOP’s priority list than it already seems to have sunk, in a year rich with Republican pickup opportunities/Rebecca Sinderbrand, CNN. More here.

Question: Is incumbent Walt Minnick reaching the point that re-election is his unless he stumbles badly somewhere in the next 2 months?

Labrador Pledges To Repeal Death Tax

Republican candidate for Congress Raul Labrador has signed onto a pledge to repeal the estate tax.  The pledge request came from the American Family Business Institute (AFBI). … The estate tax, often called the death tax by its opponents, taxes the assets of deceased people passed down to from one generation to the next.  The federal estate tax is repealed for 2010.  Unless Congress acts, the estate tax will return next year, taxing all estates worth more than $1 million at a 55 percent rate. Labrador and other want to repeal it permanently.  The “Death Tax Repeal Pledge” is backed by more than 20 current members of Congress, including Rep. Mike Simpson and Sen. Mike Crapo, and more than 400 candidates for Congress this year/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Should the death tax be permanently repealed?

Minnick Leads Labrador By 23.3%

The poll shows Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick leading GOP challenger Raul Labrador by 23.3 points, with Minnick at 52.1 percent and Labrador at 28.8 percent; while 1.9 percent chose “other” and 17.2 percent were undecided. That’s more than twice the Minnick lead shown in Labrador’s own poll, which he released a month ago showing Minnick with a 10-point lead. The poll had a statewide sample of 400 people, and just 200 of those were in the 1st Congressional District, so that means the margin of error for that result is well above the plus or minus 4.9 percent for the poll as a whole. But it’s still pretty interesting/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Why hasn’t Repub Raul Labrado seemingly been unable to gain traction against Congressman Walt Minnick, despite his big upset win over Vaughn Ward in the spring primary?

Minnick Not On GOP TV Target List

Idaho freshman Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick appears to have lucked out — so far — avoiding a TV campaign by the National Republican Congressional Committee. Politico reported Tuesday that the NRCC has reserved $22 million in TV time in 40 districts, 39 held by Democrats. Most of the Democrats are freshmen like Minnick, who are considered vulnerable by the NRCC, the campaign arm of the Republican House Caucus. NRCC leaders backed Vaughn Ward in the Idaho GOP primary, but Ward lost to state Rep. Raul Labrador by 9 percentage points. The NRCC has since added GOP nominee Labrador to its “Young Gun” program, but Minnick had a 17-1 cash-on-hand advantage over Labrador as of June 30/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Why do you think Minnick isn’t on the TV campaign list of the National Republican Congressional Committee?

NYTimes: Minnick Not An Easy Target

At least a handful of Democrats in the 40 districts are no longer considered to be as vulnerable as Republicans had hoped, largely because their preferred candidates were defeated by more conservative candidates in primaries. Representatives Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Walt Minnick of Idaho and Zack Space of Ohio are among the Democrats no longer seen by Republicans as easy targets/Jeff Zeleny, New York Times. More here.

Question: Will the conservatives help Democrats hold Congress by succeeding in nominating right-wing Republican candidates who don’t appeal to the general population?