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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Raul: Gore Should Return Peace Prize

Congressman Raul Labrador's response to a question re: climate change presented by David Gregory of NBC's "Meet the Press":

It’s interesting that about a decade ago there was a lot of talk about “global warming.” Thirty years ago we were talking about "global cooling." Now all we hear about is “climate change.” There has been evidence throughout history of cycles when the earth gets warmer and cycles when the earth gets colder. We should always be wise stewards of the earth and all of our natural resources. But as a policymaker, I won't be guided by the global warming propaganda machine. Al Gore - we need you to return your Nobel Peace Prize!/Meet the Press. Full transcript of interview here.


Insurgent Past Dogs Labrador

During the weekend, the story about an alleged ethics violation became less about the accused - Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. - and more about her accuser. That would be Todd Winer, who according to sources cited by the Spokesman-Review filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The OCE has forwarded the file on to the House Ethics Committee, which may hold hearings. Winer used to be McMorris Rodgers' press secretary. But that isn't the juiciest part.After departing the Washington Republican's office, he took up a similar post with Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. In fact, he'd been working for Labrador for about a month when OCE got the complaint/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.


Midterm grades for Inland Northwest lawmakers

We're halfway through the 113th Congress, and legislative watchdog GovTrack.us has handed down its marks for lawmakers based on multiple indicators of legislative success.

Inland Northwest legislators had their fingers in several pieces of sweeping, high-profile federal legislation enacted in 2013, including an update to the Violence Against Women Act cosponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and a bipartisan budget resolution with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., as its Democratic steward. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers also earned the rare distinction of a unanimous House of Representatives vote in favor of her bill easing licensing restrictions for dams with limited power capacities.

GovTrack, an independent bill-tracking service launched in 2004, ranked lawmakers across several categories, including number of roll call votes missed, number of bills sponsored and how many of the 20 bills the service identified as enhancing government transparency the lawmaker voted for. The rankings are comprehensive, but here are some highlights for those representing the Inland Northwest:

  • McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, are the only two Inland Northwest lawmakers who introduced bills that became law. In addition to McMorris Rodgers' dam bill, Hastings introduced legislation establishing a national helium fund for proceeds of the gas' production on federal lands. The bill passed both chambers by wide margins.
  • McMorris Rodgers, who gave birth to a baby girl in November, has missed the greatest percentage of votes in the 113th Congress among Inland Northwest delegates, failing to record a preference in 7.5% of votes tallied so far. In the Senate, which votes far less frequently, Cantwell has missed 0.3% of roll calls, the lowest share among area lawmakers.
  • Among those lawmakers tracked by GovTrack, Cantwell has the highest share of bills she's cosponsored joined by members of the competing party. More than half - or 53.3% - of Cantwell's bills have been joined by a GOP cosponsor. Cantwell's colleague in the Senate, Patty Murray, was joined by a GOP lawmaker as a cosponsor on 29% of her bills, slightly lower than the percentage of bills proposed by McMorris Rodgers (29.4%) and Hastings (35%) joined by Democrats. Unlisted in the figures provided by GovTrack were Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Eagle).

Congress is mulling a number of major legislative initiatives in the coming months as lawmakers prep for another election cycle. On tap are major bills addressing unemployment benefits, immigration reform and an extension of agriculture legislation.

Labrador, Simpson split in budget vote

Idaho's two congressmen split in last night's 332-94 House vote on a bipartisan budget deal, with 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson voting in favor, and 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador voting against. The deal, brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., sets federal spending on domestic and defense programs and averts the threat of a government shutdown for the next two years; it makes modest changes in spending levels, replaces about $63 billion in automatic sequester budget cuts, adds new fees on airline passengers and increases federal workers’ pension contributions; it’s expected to pass the Senate next week. The deal leaves in place the bulk of the $1 trillion in sequester cuts through 2021, but eases an especially harsh set of cuts scheduled to hit in 2014 and 2015 on the Pentagon, domestic agencies and Medicare providers.

Labrador called it “a bad deal, plain and simple,” while Simpson said it “preserves dozens, perhaps hundreds of jobs at Idaho National Laboratory, lays the groundwork for extending PILT payments, achieves greater savings for taxpayers than those contained in sequestration, and does all of it without raising taxes.”

Here’s Labrador’s statement, and more online here:

“This is a bad deal, plain and simple.  Once again, Congress is making promises of future spending decreases in exchange for actual spending increases today.  Republicans should keep the promise they made to the American people that they would use the sequester to address the true drivers of our debt and fight for real entitlement reform.  We had a historic opportunity to find common ground in order to save Medicare and Social Security.  Once again, we kicked the can down the road while making empty promises to the American people."

From Simpson, whose full statement is online here:

“My Republican colleagues and I have been seeking reforms to sequestration that lessen the pain on the military, allow Congress to budget in a more orderly process, and maintain or enhance the long-term savings achieved by the Budget Control Act. The bill we passed today accomplishes all three of those goals and is a positive step in the right direction. I am especially relieved that the agreement short circuits some of the devastating sequester-based cuts to Idaho National Laboratory – including cuts to its core nuclear energy research programs, the guard force that secures the facility against terrorism or sabotage, and ongoing cleanup activities that are so important to the protection of the environment and human health.  The agreement also provides room in the budget to continue funding for PILT.”

For Labrador, tea party means ‘not beholden to special interest groups’

Musing about what his “tea party” identification means, Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador said today, “I always used to joke around that I was tea party before tea party was cool.” But he noted that he never joined the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House. “I think any time you try to formalize a movement like that, you actually take away some of its legitimacy,” he told reporters. “The tea party is kind of an amorphous group that has a bunch of different definitions.”

He said in his view, “It’s about being somebody who’s not necessarily beholden to the special interest groups. That’s why I sometimes identify with the tea party, sometimes identify with the libertarian side, I sometimes identify with the so-called conservatives. … What you have is a bunch of people … that are frustrated with business as usual.” He defined that business-as-usual as, “In order to talk to a politician, have a politician pay attention to you, you actually have to just donate money to their campaign.”

Longtime Idaho political observer Jim Weatherby called Labrador’s definition “pretty broad and amorphous – it would apply to a lot of populist groups.” But he noted, “There certainly is a lot of populism within the tea party movement.”

Labrador to fast food workers: Get into management

During a conference call with reporters today, Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador was asked about minimum wage protests across the country among fast food workers. “I’m against raising the minimum wage,” Labrador said. He said minimum-wage jobs allow entry-level workers to “acquire the skills that are necessary, so they can move up … the job ladders. If you make it more difficult for people to hire them at minimum wage, it’s impossible for them … to gain the experience that they need so they can make more money in the future.”

He added, “I lived with this in my own life. … My mom worked at McDonalds at one point in her life. She decided she wanted to make more money, so she got into the management program at McDonalds. That’s how you move up the chain. … Every time she had a job she would start at the bottom, and she would work her way up into management. She was still not making a ton of money, but that’s how people get ahead in life.”

He predicted “an explosion of unemployment if we start raising the minimum wage.” Idaho has the highest percentage of minimum-wage workers in the nation, at 7.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national rate is 4.7 percent.

The state’s minimum wage matches the federal rate at $7.25 per hour; its minimum for tipped employees is $3.35 per hour. An initiative currently is circulating to raise Idaho’s minimum wage to $9.80 in phases over the next four years; last week, initiative backer Anne Nesse said about a tenth of the required signatures have been gathered to place the measure on the ballot, with about four months to go.

Labrador: Now is ‘not the time’ for immigration reform talks with Dems

Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador, who has been at the center of talks in Congress on immigration reform, now says he now believes reform likely won’t happen this year after all, and he’s advised House GOP leaders that “it’s not the time” to negotiate with the Obama Administration on the issue. Labrador’s comments come as reform proponents, including prominent Idaho business and agriculture leaders and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stepped up a lobbying effort this week to push for reforms now.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen this session unless we start seeing some more good-faith efforts on the part of the president to negotiate,” Labrador told reporters Friday. The recent fight over the government shutdown and fiscal crisis “just exacerbated the lack of trust between the two sides,” the second-term congressman said. “There’s no need to negotiate, if the issue that they have is that it has to be their bill or the highway.”

Labrador said, “My goal is to fix the system, if it takes one year, or three years, or five years, whatever it is. Hopefully it’s not five years.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Labrador to tour INL, where budget cuts he backed threatened thousands of jobs

1st District Rep. Raul Labrador is headed into what could be hostile territory next week – Idaho Falls and the Idaho National Laboratory, a huge employer in Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District. Labrador twice voted to gut the national nuclear research funding that operates the facility, potentially threatening thousands of jobs at the INL. He’s scheduled to tour the place next week and to address the Rotary Club in nearby Idaho Falls.

“We’ve been trying to do it for months,” Labrador said, but scheduling conflicts put the visit off until now. “They know they’re going to get a frank discussion with me, that I don’t mince my words and I don’t beat around the bush,” he said. “I understand the importance of INL to Idaho, but they also need to understand we have a $17 trillion debt, so we’re going to have a very interesting conversation.”

A bloc against Obamacare

One reason the shutdown remains so intractable is a core of House Republicans who signalled in August they wanted to eliminate the federal health care reforms.

In a letter to Speaker John Boehner, 80 House Republicans said they supported using the "power of the purse" to end the law. It didn't get much attention at the time, but in the last week, as the shutdown loomed and then occured, national political commentators have pointed to the letter, and its author Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, as a key to they deadlock.

Several readers have asked if Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers or  any of Washington's GOP House members signed onto the letter.They did not. But Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho did.

For a map of the districts of those who signed on to the letter, click here.

Labrador, Ringo Differ On Shutdown

Democratic state Rep. Shirley Ringo says Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador is among a group “holding the country hostage to serve their extreme agenda” by refusing to fund the government without delaying Obamacare. Labrador counters that the House Republicans proposal to delay the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate by a year is “very reasonable” and calls Tuesday’s partial closure of the federal government “The Obama Shutdown”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

  • Labrador tweets that he's going to discuss the shutdown on two national TV programs tonight.

Question: Why are the national media so interested in Labrador?

Read more here: http://blogs.idahostatesman.com/ringo-says-labrador-holding-country-hostage-in-shutdown-labrador-blames-obama/#storylink=cpy

Labrador Doesn’t Want Shutdown?

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador blamed a potential federal government shutdown next month on what he sees as President Barack Obama's unwillingness to delay the health care reform law's further implementation. With a shutdown, there "wouldn't be a significant change" visible to most Americans, the Republican said Tuesday in an interview with The Press editorial board. A shutdown is possible at the end of this month because the U.S. House and Senate can't agree on a budget bill for continued government funding. The two houses are battling over funding for the Affordable Care Act, known commonly as Obamacare. A recent House version of a proposed stopgap budget, known as a "continuing resolution," includes an item that would defund Obamacare. That won't go anywhere in the Democratic controlled Senate. So if the Senate strips the defunding provision out of the House budget, Labrador said a delay of Obamacare would be a great compromise/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Do you think the 1st District supports Congressman Labrador's continuing fight against Obamacare, even if it means a shutdown of the federal government?

Raul’s Bill Backs Traditional Marriage

Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador on Thursday introduced the bipartisan “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” to prohibit discrimination in the U.S. tax code against “individuals or institutions that exercise religious conscience regarding marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” As of Thursday’s introduction, Labrador’s H.R. 3133 has 60 Republican and two Democratic co-sponsors, including Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., chairman of the Republican Study Committee, an influential group that advocates conservative social and economic causes. Labrador told the Statesman he wrote the bill as a response to the Supreme Court’s June decision striking down the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act’s barring of federal recognition of gay marriage/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you support/oppose this bill?

Read more here: http://blogs.idahostatesman.com/labrador-bill-would-protect-tax-breaks-for-proponents-of-traditional-marriage/#storylink=cp/

Labrador Co-Sponsors Shutdown Bill

1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador announced today that he is co-sponsoring a resolution introduced today by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Georgia, to avert a government shutdown Oct. 1 only if President Obama's health care law is both de-funded and its individual mandate to purchase insurance delayed for a year. “If there’s any single issue that can unite House Republicans and has the strong support of the American people, it’s getting rid of ObamaCare,” Labrador declared/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you support/oppose the bill that Raul Labrador is co-sponsoring?

Labrador co-sponsors bill to avert government shutdown only if health reform defunded, delayed

1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador announced today that he is co-sponsoring a resolution introduced today by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Georgia, to avert a government shutdown Oct. 1 only if President Obama's health care law is both de-funded and its individual mandate to purchase insurance delayed for a year. “If there’s any single issue that can unite House Republicans and has the strong support of the American people, it’s getting rid of ObamaCare,” Labrador declared. "The resolution I’m cosponsoring will keep the government open while keeping overall spending at the same rate the Senate has already agreed to through the sequester.  House Leadership should bring it to the floor for a vote.  If the House passes it and the Senate rejects it, it will be the Senate that’s responsible for shutting down the government.  Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but House Republicans must seize this opportunity to keep our promises to the American people on ObamaCare.” 

Click below for Labrador's full news release. Meanwhile, President Obama, in a White House speech yesterday, blasted House Republicans who are taking that position, saying, "I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can't get 100% of what it wants." In his speech, which House GOP leaders criticized as partisan, Obama asked, "Are some of these folks so beholden to one extreme wing of their party that they're willing to tank our whole economy?"

Raul: We Aren’t World’s Police Force

Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador uses his weekly electronic newsletter to reaffirm his opposition to use of force in Syria, recounting an exchange with a veteran whose son served in Afghanistan and is “no longer the same.” In an 800-word essay, Labrador says the woman, whose husband also is a veteran, begged him to “keep us out of Syria.” Labrador recounts meeting the woman at the Boise Philharmonic’s “Americana” concert Aug. 30 in Eagle and himself being moved by a piece by composer John Williams from the World War II film, “Saving Private Ryan.” “As I was listening to the music, I could not stop thinking about the many men and women who had given their lives in defense of our country and ached for them and their families,” Labrador writes. “I also thought about those who could lose their lives if we got embroiled in a conflict in Syria/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Congressman Labrador that "We are not the police force of the world"?

Read more here: http://blogs.idahostatesman.com/idahos-labrador-on-syria-we-are-not-the-police-force-of-the-world/#storylink=cpy

More congressional reax on Syria speech

After President Obama gave his speech on Syria last night, there was a scramble to get reaction from the region's congressional delegation, and fit  it into the tight space in this morning's Spokesman-Review. We wound up with a shortened version of the reaction. For a fuller version of their comments, go inside the blog. 


Labrador: Remember Benghazi, Too

Congressman Raul Labrador issued a statement re: 9/11, which reads in part:

“Twelve years ago today, over 3,000 Americans were killed in the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history.  Today, we honor the memory of those we lost that day, including those who gave their lives to save the lives of others.  We must never forget the victims or their families.  Nor can we forget the reason we were attacked – the freedom we enjoy at home, and our willingness to serve as a beacon of freedom to people all around the world.  We must stay vigilant in the fight against terrorism. One year ago today, four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, were murdered in Benghazi in another terrorist attack.  It is my hope that today’s anniversary will spur greater action to bring the perpetrators to justice and to get a full accounting of what happened on that fateful day." More here.

Question: Is 9/11 a good day to make a political statement re: Benghazi?

Read more here: http://blogs.idahostatesman.com/labrador-statement-on-911-benghazi-anniversaries/#storylink=cpy

Labrador comes out against military strike on Syria

1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador today came out against a military strike against Syria. “I will vote ‘no’ on any Congressional authorization to use force against Syria, and I will encourage my colleagues to do the same,” Labrador said. The second-term congressman said he reached his conclusion after reviewing the arguments on both sides, attending a classified briefing and talking to the Obama Administration. “Nothing they said changed the fact that we are not the police force of the world, we don’t have any compelling national interest in Syria, and it’s doubtful that an alternative government in Syria will be any better than the current one," Labrador said. "While no one doubts that Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator, it’s very likely that removing him power will embolden al-Qaeda and other terrorists."

Click below for Labrador's full statement; Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, earlier came out against a strike as well, and voted against it in the committee last week.

Labrador: Immigration reform likely to be pushed to back burner by Syria, debt

As Congress returns from its summer break today, 1st District Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador says the debates over Syria and the debt limit are likely to push immigration reform to the back burner, the AP reports. Labrador said he and other members of Congress "were all hoping we would have a debate in October, now it looks like September and October are going to be pretty full with other issues." Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.

Idaho congressional delegation wary of strike against Syria

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho lawmakers in Washington, D.C., were deeply skeptical of President Obama's plan for a strike against Syria's chemical weapons infrastructure. In responses this week, Republican U.S. Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo and Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador all expressed wariness such a strike would enhance U.S. power or bring a swifter end to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. Risch committed to opposing a strike. Obama says Assad's government was responsible for numerous gas attacks, including one Aug. 21 said to have killed 1,429 people. In Tuesday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, however, Risch worried a post-strike Assad would emerge stronger. Republicans including House Speaker John Boehner support a strike. Though Simpson is usually a Boehner ally, the Idaho Republican's spokeswoman said he's "strongly leaning against supporting military action."

Read a report here from S-R reporter Kip Hill, including comments from Idaho and Washington senators; click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.

Simpson, Labrador aligned on Syria strike

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — It took potential military action against Syria to get Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador on the same side. The feuding Idaho lawmakers signed a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to seek authorization from Congress before ordering a strike against Syria after its government allegedly used chemical weapons against its own people. Simpson and Labrador, who have traded barbs this year including over whether House Speaker John Boehner should be leading the chamber's majority, joined Boehner in the letter on Wednesday. In the document, they argue that Obama is required by the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to consult with lawmakers before authorizing a strike. Many Democrats are also urging Obama not to take action without first seeking proper authority to do so.

Boehner Tweaks Neutral Labrador

House Speaker John Boehner drew applause from a crowd of 430 backing 2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson with a clear misstatement: he said Simpson’s 1st District colleague and fellow Republican was backing Simpson in his primary race. “I want to thank Raul Labrador for being here today and being supportive of his colleague in his re-election bid,” Boehner said Monday at a Boise event that raised more than $95,000 for Simpson’s campaign for a ninth term. Trouble is, Labrador has said he will remain neutral in the contest between Simpson and tea party challenger Bryan Smith, who is endorsed by Club for Growth. Labrador is allied with tea party groups and the anti-tax Club for Growth, which Simpson expects to raise up to $2 million on behalf of Smith/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson is one of the better congressman. The fact that Tea Party darling Raul Labrador won't back him for re-election says more about Labrador than Simpson. What do you think?

Read more here: http://blogs.idahostatesman.com/was-boehner-ribbing-labrador-about-support-of-simpson/#storylink=cpy

Edit: Ringo Will Shake Things Up

In a Sunday editorial, Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune writes: If you talk to a national handicapper such as political wonk Charlie Cook, state Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, is wasting her time challenging Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. But you've not seen this kind of political dynamic in Idaho for some time. For the sake of argument, consider:

  • Experience — Ringo may be the most tenured Idaho candidate for Congress since then Idaho House Speaker Mike Simpson embarked on his congressional career 15 years ago. She has served seven terms in the Legislature - and has the enlightening experience of losing a re-election campaign only to come back and win the next time. Perched on the budget-writing and Joint Legislative Oversight committees, Ringo knows where the bodies are buried.
  • Message — Ringo is something rare in Idaho politics - an unashamed Democrat. Count the list of candidates who have run away from that label. Whether it was former Congressman Walt Minnick or the party's 2010 gubernatorial nominee Keith Allred, it hasn't worked. The base of true believers sit on their hands while moderate Republicans stay loyal to the GOP. More here.

Question: Will an unabashed Democrat, like Shirley Ringo, test Congressman Raul Labrador more than a moderate one, like Walt Minnick?

Ringo to run against Labrador in 1st CD

Longtime Idaho state Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, announced Monday that she’ll seek Idaho’s 1st District congressional seat in 2014, the first opponent to emerge for second-term GOP Rep. Raul Labrador.  Labrador, a high-profile tea party favorite, just announced last week that he’ll run for a third term in Congress, rather than run for governor of Idaho, in an effort to quiet speculation that he said was getting out of hand.

Ringo, a former longtime high school math teacher who holds a key seat on the Legislature’s joint budget committee, said, “We all know that Congress doesn’t have a very positive approval rating at this time, with their inability to compromise and get things done. And I have the sense that Congressman Labrador is part of the problem.”

Ringo acknowledged that she faces an “uphill battle” as a member of Idaho’s small Democratic minority, but said she’s talked with moderate Republicans who are “not particularly happy with the direction that some of the more extreme members of their party are taking.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Otter on Labrador: ‘My door has always been open’

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter had this response tonight to Congressman Raul Labrador’s comments about wanting to work with him  on issues now that Labrador has made it clear he’s not planning to challenge Otter in the primary: “My door has always been and will always be open to any member of the delegation and the Legislature.”

Otter was busy this evening with a fundraising dinner and reception for his re-election campaign, after which both he and First Lady Lori Otter rode out in the opening ceremonies of the Caldwell Night Rodeo.

Labrador seeks 3rd term

1st District Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador announced this afternoon that he'll seek a third term in Congress, not run for governor. “I've decided to end all the speculation and announce that I have no plans at this time to run for Governor,” Labrador said at a Meridian news conference. “I do not feel that I have yet completed the mission you sent me to Congress to do. There is still much work to be done. Whether at the state or the national level, I will always be an advocate for Idaho.”

In response to questions from reporters, Labrador said, “I never really thought about it seriously. At first it was kind of funny when people would ask me – I had only been in Congress for less than one term, and people just started asking me if I would run for governor.” Betsy Russell, EOB

Surprised? Relieved? Dismayed?

Labrador to seek third term in Congress, not run for governor

1st District Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador announced this afternoon that he'll seek a third term in Congress, not run for governor. "I've decided to end all the speculation and announce that I have no plans at this time to run for Governor," Labrador said at a Meridian news conference. "I do not feel that I have yet completed the mission you sent me to Congress to do. There is still much work to be done. Whether at the state or the national level, I will always be an advocate for Idaho." You can read my full story here at spokesman.com; here's a link to Labrador's statement to supporters.

In response to questions from reporters, Labrador said, “I never really thought about it seriously. At first it was kind of funny when people would ask me – I had only been in Congress for less than one term, and people just started asking me if I would run for governor.” He said he’d actually decided against it about three months ago, but when he started calling supporters to let them know, they got mad, so he considered it some more. “Running against Gov. Otter would have been a tough race,” he said.

Labrador said he never did any polling. “You can’t ever say never to anything,” he said, but said, “At this point I don’t think it’s in the cards.”

Asked if he thinks Otter is doing a good job as governor, Labrador said, “You know, Butch Otter could do a better job, and I don’t think I’ve been shy about saying what I think.” He said now that het’s made it clear he won’t challenge Otter, he hopes the two can talk and work together. “I hope now that he doesn’t see me as a competitor, that he can see me as a partner.”

Labrador to make campaign announcement Wednesday afternoon

Speculation is running wild back in D.C. as to whether Idaho 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador will seek a third term in Congress or run for governor of Idaho instead; Labrador will put the rumors to rest tomorrow afternoon. “Rep. Labrador will hold a press event on Wednesday afternoon in Meridian to make a campaign announcement,” his office told me in an email last night. Now, the details are in: Labrador's announcement is set for 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Meridian City Hall building, where he has his congressional offices.

The outspoken Labrador, who frequently appears on national political TV shows and has been the subject of rumors in D.C. about everything from a future speakership to a future presidential bid, served two terms in the Idaho state House before being elected to Congress in 2010. Prior to heading to Congress, he was an immigration attorney.

Labrador Won’t Endorse Simpson

Though they deny it, the breach between Idaho's only two members of the U.S. House of Representatives might be widening. Rep. Raul Labrador says he won't observe the longstanding custom of endorsing fellow Republican Rep. Mike Simpson over primary foe Bryan Smith. Smith is courting the GOP's right wing, where Labrador is popular. Neither will Labrador say whether he considers Simpson a conservative. "You know," Labrador said Wednesday, "I said I wouldn't speak about the race." Simpson, however, says he will back Labrador over primary challenger Michael Greenway. "Well, let me just say I'm supporting Raul," Simpson said Wednesday/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you consider this bad/good form on Labrador's part?

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/08/08/2694647/rep-labrador-wont-endorse-simpson.html#storylink=cpy

Labrador As Next House Speaker?

Though he’s just in his seventh year of public office — four of those as a junior member of the Idaho House — 1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador has landed in a Top 10 of possible successors to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. The list was prepared by Roll Call reporters Emma Dumain and Matt Fuller in a column titled “10 Republicans Who Could Be Speaker.” Labrador is listed last on the list, which begins with more conventional candidates including Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Would you like to see Congressman Raul Labrador become speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives?

Read more here: http://blogs.idahostatesman.com/forget-governor-idahos-labrador-touted-as-next-house-speaker/#storylink=cpy