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Happenings in the 1st CD…

Here’s a link to my Sunday column on the week’s developments in the 1st District congressional race, from Rep. Raul Labrador’s campaign finance report sending signals that he’ll seek a third term – rather than run for governor – to the latest on former Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris and the emergence of a longshot GOP opponent, a BSU political science student.

Labrador, Simpson Oppose NCLB

Idaho’s two House members joined 219 other Republicans Friday, voting for a bill to reverse components of the No Child Left Behind education law. Supporters of H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, say it will return educational control to states and school districts. The change represents “a complete U-turn, policy-wise, from the existing federal school accountability law,” says Alyson Klein of Education Week. Friday’s bill passed 221-207, on nearly a party-line vote. Twelve Republicans broke ranks to vote against the bill, and no Democrats supported it. “I am proud to support this legislation that will restore federalist principles by eliminating the one-size-fits-all federal mandates established by No Child Left Behind,” 1st Congressional District Rep. Raul Labrador said Friday/Kevin Richert, The EDge, IdahoED News. More here.

Thoughts?

Trib: Jeers To Labrador’s Family Biz

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune gives …

… Jeers to Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. When the freshman put his wife Becca on the campaign account two years ago, it looked like a rookie mistake. But in examining Labrador's latest campaign finance report, the Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey noticed nothing has changed.Labrador, who pulls down $174,000 as a member of Congress, paid his wife $6,045 for the last three months to handle the campaign's books. In addition, the campaign covered $4,224 in federal income and payroll taxes as well as another $1,188 in state taxes. Were those taxes paid on behalf of Becca Labrador? In an email, Labrador's deputy chief of staff, Mike Cunnington, stated: "As we have said before, Becca receives a monthly salary of $2,500 and the campaign pays all taxes that are required." Marty's complete column here.

Question: Should Labador's wife, Becca, be paid for handling the congressman's campaign books?

Farris says he’ll run again in ‘14, either for Congress or another office

Jimmy Farris, the former NFL football player and Idaho native who took 30.8 percent of the vote against 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador last year, says he hasn’t decided yet whether he’ll challenge the GOP congressman again next year. But Farris, a Democrat, said he has decided one thing: He will run for office. “I will be running in 2014,” Farris said today. “I’m just not positive for what office or what seat.”

Farris filed a termination with the Federal Election Commission of his campaign finances from the last election, closing out the books, but said he made that move largely because his campaign treasurer, a CPA, was retiring from her practice. If he decides to run for Congress again, he noted, he can refile. This photo, from August of 2012, shows him campaigning in Meridian.

For now, Farris is busy with an upcoming annual family reunion and several business ventures, including one a former teammate is launching to design a safer football helmet, and another he’s working on to develop a type of custom insole. He also became fascinated by the recent George Zimmerman trial in Florida, frequently tweeting on developments there.

“I came into it, honestly, with a bias, kind of a preconceived idea that Zimmerman was just what they were saying he was, this over-zealous, racist wanna-be cop that tracked down this innocent kid and just shot him in cold blood, and it wasn’t like that,” Farris said. “NBC had edited one of the 911 tapes. … It was terrible, man. So not that I think George Zimmerman was innocent, he did kill the kid, but the way the law reads is the way it reads. In my opinion, if you just wanted to base it off of the instructions to the jury, there was no way they could convict him.” He added, “I just got really, really caught up in that trial.”

As for politics, he said, “I’m not actively out raising money or campaigning, but I’ve been meeting with a lot of people, having a lot of lunch and coffee meetings and kind of laying the groundwork for some things.” He added, “I’m kind of considering all the options now. … My desire to be in public service in Idaho and do what I can to make a difference in Idaho is as strong as it’s ever been.”

Student says he’ll challenge Labrador in 1st District GOP primary

No one has filed with the FEC yet to run against 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador in 2014, but a 23-year-old BSU political science student, Michael Greenway, announced today that he’ll challenge Labrador in the GOP primary. “I’m getting my campaign team together right now,” said Greenway, who will turn 25 between the primary and general elections in 2014, just hitting the minimum age threshold to serve in Congress.

Greenway, who is going into his senior year, isn’t a first-time political candidate; he ran for the state Legislature last year, challenging Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, in the Republican primary and collecting 27.5 percent of the vote. Greenway, whose mom served as his campaign treasurer for that race, said, “I enjoyed it, it was an interesting experience.” He campaigned on his opposition to the controversial “Students Come First” school reform laws, of which DeMordaunt, chairman of the House Education Committee, was a big supporter; voters rejected those laws last November.

Greenway said his interest in politics was sparked after the 9/11 attacks when, as a young teen, he was impressed with how then-President George W. Bush responded to the war on terror. “I liked the way the Republicans responded better than the Democrats,” Greenway said. “I believe in a strong national defense, a strong military.” He started thinking about making a run against Labrador after the second-term congressman abstained from voting to re-elect House Speaker John Boehner in January; Labrador’s close ally, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, cast his vote for Labrador for speaker. The two were among just 12 House Republicans who didn’t vote to re-elect Boehner as speaker.

Greenway called Labrador’s abstention “an act of betrayal, not only to the party but also to the constituents he claims to represent.” He called the Idaho congressman divisive, and said if elected, he’d work with all sides. “No one gets 100 percent of what they want in a government like ours,” the young candidate said. “We need someone in Washington that understands that, and I do.” You can read his full announcement here.

Asked how he’ll campaign, the full-time student said, “Well, I’ll try to raise as much money as I can, and then just campaign and talk to people, you know, go up and down the district.”

Labrador Opposed By A ‘Who’?

Like Horton the elephant in “Horton Hears a Who!” I have heard a tiny voice. Responding to my Wednesday column, in which I noted that “no credible alternative has said a peep about trying to challenge” Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador, Boise State political science student Michael Greenway says he will take on Labrador in the May GOP primary. Greenway says Labrador has been a party to gridlock in Washington, D.C., and said Labrador’s withholding a vote for GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner was both “childish” and “an act of betrayal”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
 
Question: Will the Democrats produce a serious candidate, if Congressman Labrador runs for re-election?

Read more here: http://blogs.idahostatesman.com/labrador-draws-gop-opponent-bsu-student-michael-greenway/#storylink=cpy

Labrador’s hefty re-election warchest suggests he won’t leave House to run for guv

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador is sitting on the second-biggest wad of campaign cash he’s stockpiled since he’s been in office, with more than $277,000 in the bank. That suggests that Labrador is gearing up for a re-election bid for a third term, not for a long-shot primary challenge against two-term GOP Gov. Butch Otter in 2014.

Labrador’s being coy; neither he nor his staffers have returned calls from reporters today, and he’s been hinting for months that he might run for governor or might not and hadn’t yet decided. “Politicians enjoy the attention of people speculating about what office they’re going to run for next,” said BSU professor emeritus and longtime Idaho political observer Jim Weatherby. “He’s certainly benefited from a lot of that kind of speculation, and why wouldn’t he want to continue it for as long as he could?”

Labrador’s latest campaign finance report, filed late last night, shows he ended the year’s second quarter with $277,271 cash on hand. That’s nearly triple the amount he had at this time two years ago, and an amount he’s exceeded only once before, in October of 2012, at the height of the campaign season just weeks before he was re-elected. He raised $65,680 this quarter, an unremarkable amount but for the fact that two-thirds of it came from PACs, a departure for Labrador, who typically has raised more of his campaign funds from individuals than from PACs.

According to FEC records, in 2009-10, Labrador raised more than three times as much for his campaign from individuals as from PACs. In 2011-12, the split was 60 percent from individuals, 40 percent from PACs.

Among the PACs handing over the money now: Microsoft, Google, eBay, Northrup Grumman Employees, Alliant Techsystems, Darigold, Arizona Dairymen, Michigan Milk Producers, the National Roofing Contractors, the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC and more. Those groups, Weatherby noted, certainly don’t “have a big stake in who’s the next governor of Idaho.”

The only way to transfer federal campaign funds to a state campaign is to do what Secretary of State Ben Ysursa terms “reattributing” them – getting a written statement from each original donor, saying they want their money transferred from the congressional campaign to the state gubernatorial campaign. “That’s the only way,” Ysursa said. “There’s not just a direct transfer of money. There has to be reattribution of the individual amounts.” Then, the amounts count against the state’s contribution limits for each donor.

“It’s convoluted, but it can be done,” Ysursa said, most notably by Dirk Kempthorne when he decided to run for governor in 1998 rather than seek another term in the Senate. Kempthorne’s 1998 federal campaign finance report shows he refunded nearly $50,000 in contributions that year, including $38,000 to PACs and $11,600 to individuals; that’s what a candidate would have to do to reattribute the funds and redirect them to a state campaign. A Federal Election Commission spokeswoman said federal laws don’t restrict transfers, but they’re governed by state law and state limits.

Labrador’s July quarterly campaign finance report also shows he received $10,000 in contributions from Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s Freedom Fund PAC, with two $5,000 checks, one tabbed for the primary and one for the general election, both coming in June 3.

Said Weatherby, “It certainly looks like he’s not going to take a run at governor.”

Labrador: Player Or Tap Dancer?

Raul Labrador, Idaho’s first district Republican member of Congress, has been giving some good television. After going mano a mano on Meet the Press (July 7) with the New York Times’ David Brooks, on July 10 he got into it with a whole panel on MSNBC’s WOW. Topic A being, of course, immigration, on which Labrador has been a significant national figure almost since he arrived in Congress: A Latino Republican with actual expertise in the field. On WOW, Labrador shot back, “If you want to have a debate on the discussion, we can do that. I actually have my own mind. I was an immigration lawyer for 15 years. I think I know more than you do about immigration and on immigration reform. So let’s not try to insult people when trying to have an honest discussion about what’s happening in America.” Labrador does in fact have expertise on immigration law. Discerning exactly what he proposes to do about it, however, is trickier/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Do you think Congressman Raul Labrador is a player or a tap dancer when it comes to immigration reform?

Labrador Pooh-Poohs Bush Lobbying

Former president George W. Bush, who enjoyed healthy support among Latinos during his time in office, has broken a virtual five-year silence in national politics to weigh in on immigration reform. The question is: Is anyone listening? Judging from the immigration debate roiling the House, probably not. Although Bush's public approval ratings are on the rise, he is a fast-fading memory on Capitol Hill, where more than half of the 234 House Republicans arrived on the scene after he departed. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, who last month dropped out of bipartisan talks to develop a comprehensive House immigration bill, said Bush's views would have little impact. "Anybody has to take an ex-president's word seriously, but he's just another voice on this issue. He's not going to be the definitive voice," Labrador said in an interview/David Nakamura & Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post. More here. (AP photo: George W. Bush places his hand over his heart during the national anthem before a U.S. citizen swearing in ceremony in Dallas on Wednesday)

Question: Wouldn't the Republican Party be in much better shape today if it'd followed then President George Bush's lead in reaching out to Hispanics?

Labrador now says he’ll take ‘next couple of months’ to decide on guv’s race

1st District Congressman Raul Labrador has missed his self-imposed deadline to decide whether to run for governor or seek a third term in Congress, Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reports, and now says he’ll decide “within the next couple of months.” Gov. Butch Otter has already said he plans to see a third term. You can read Popkey’s post here, including the full statement from Labrador, in which he says in part, "I’m still considering all of the options that are available to me, but my focus right now is being the most effective representative that I can be for my constituents." Both Labrador and Otter are Republicans.


Read more here: http://blogs.idahostatesman.com/labrador-misses-self-imposed-deadline-on-guvs-race-hopes-for-decision-in-next-couple-of-months/#storylink=cpy

 

Labrador: No snub from Boehner

1st District Rep. Raul Labrador says it’s not true that he’s being snubbed by Speaker John Boehner on a fundraising trip to North Idaho, an event scheduled for Friday in Coeur d’Alene; the Coeur d’Alene Press ran an article today suggesting Labrador may not have been invited, though the event is in his district. “I was invited four weeks ago,” Labrador said. “They keep inviting me, they keep wanting me to go, but just, for me it was a bad weekend.” He said he did make a plane reservation in case he was able to make it to the event, which Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is holding for Boehner to raise funds for GOP candidates; the fundraiser originally had been planned for Pullman, Wash. but was moved to Coeur d’Alene.

Both Labrador and McMorris’ office said the speaker has asked their offices not to comment on the speaker’s travels; that’s what led to the misunderstanding about Labrador’s role, when his office declined to provide any information to the Press. Said Labrador, “Absolutely, yes, I was invited. I’m not sure if I’m going to able to make it, but I’m excited that the speaker’s coming to my district.”

Raul Mum Re: Boehner CdA $$$raiser

From left, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Vice President Joe Biden applaud during a ceremony to dedicate the statue of Frederick Douglass, seen behind them today in the Emancipation Hall of the United States Visitor Center on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner will be the focus of a fundraiser in Coeur d'Alene in which 1st District Congress Raul Labrador wasn't invited. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

U.S Speaker of the House John Boehner will visit Coeur d'Alene Friday for a private fundraiser in Congressman Raul Labrador's 1st District. According to organizers, Labrador is not attending the private event, and he's not talking about it either. "Sorry it's taken me awhile to get back to you," said Labrador's spokesman Todd Winer, responding to repeated inquiries about the event. "We don't have any comment on the story you're working on." Ron Nilson, CEO of Ground Force Worldwide, is helping to organize the event at the local level. He said Ed Schweitzer, CEO of Schweitzer Engineering in Pullman, is hosting the event/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Hmm. Let's read between the lines. Why would Congressman Raul Labrador not attend (not be invited to?) fund-raising event in his district that features House Speaker John Boehner? Pay back?

Labrador pledges to continue working on immigration reform

First District Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador pledged today to keep working on immigration reform, despite having walked away last week from a bipartisan group of eight members working to craft a House bill. “I promise you, this does not delay the process,” he told a dozen members of the Coalition for Immigrant Rights of Idaho, who stood chanting in the foyer of his office for nearly 40 minutes before Labrador emerged from a conference call. Labrador then talked with the group, answering questions in both Spanish and English, for the next 45 minutes, in a conversation that was sometimes friendly, but occasionally heated. “Just this morning, John Boehner announced that he wants immigration reform done by the Fourth of July,” Labrador said. “My goal is to have immigration reform done by the end of this year.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Labrador said his differences with the bipartisan “Group of Eight” went beyond the health care issue he pointed to last week – that he believes immigrants should cover their own catastrophic health care costs, rather than qualify for coverage under Obamacare. He said he’d earlier “agreed to disagree” with the group over guest worker programs, and he saw what had been overall agreement on a broad array of issues disintegrating as the lawmakers got into the details of crafting a bill, with the health care issue as the second big disagreement. “My goal is to make sure that something good passes,” he said, adding that he didn’t believe the bill the bipartisan group was working toward would end up passing the GOP-dominated House.

“I decided that there’s a better way,” Labrador said. He said he’s working with members of the House Judiciary Committee, on which he serves, and he expects an array of reform bills to come to that panel. “What we’re probably going to do is a more step by step approach,” he said. But once the House has passed something, it’ll have to go to conference with the Senate. “In the conference, it’s going to have to be a bipartisan solution, whatever happens,” he said. “When it gets to the conference, it will be comprehensive.”

 Ruby Mendez, a 21-year-old intern organizer for the Idaho Community Action Network from Star, said, “We have supported you when you were practicing law, and we have even voted for you so you can fix our immigration system.” But she said she and others in Idaho’s Latino community were surprised and disappointed by Labrador’s move last week. “I think as a Latina in Idaho, I’ve seen many of my family and friends be affected by a broken immigration system,” she said. “To see the injustice, it’s been a tough task. … We represent here in Idaho 11 percent – we’re a growing community.”

The Idaho group stresses keeping families together; Labrador said he shares that goal. “This is the main reason that I have not walked away from immigration reform – we have to do the right thing for America,” he said. “We have a broken system, and I worked in the system for 15 years. I saw families broken up. … We can’t allow the immigration system to stay this way.”

Labrador said he doesn’t fully support the current Senate bill as written, but might in the future depending on how it’s amended. “I’m doing everything I can,” he told the group. After they left his office, Labrador said he’s gotten differing reactions from other groups since quitting the bipartisan reform talks last week. “Actually, most people are happy,” he said. “A lot of people in Idaho don’t want me to do any immigration reform.” But, he said, “I’m trying.”

Catching up…

After a week away, it’s time to catch up. Here’s some of the news from the past week while I was gone:

* Both Coeur d’Alene and Pocatello passed city ordinances to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations. The Coeur d’Alene City Council’s 5-1 vote came late Tuesday night; the Pocatello City Council’s 4-2 vote came early Friday morning. That marks the fifth and sixth Idaho cities, including Boise, to pass such ordinances, after the state Legislature refused for seven straight years to enact such protections statewide.

* First District Congressman Raul Labrador dropped out of an eight-member bipartisan group working toward compromise immigration reform legislation in the House, and said he’ll oppose the group’s legislation, due to differences over how to pay for immigrants’ health care. “We just have a different philosophy,” Labrador told reporters. “The Democratic Party believes that health insurance is a social responsibility of the nation. I believe that health insurance is an individual responsibility. And that’s a really hard philosophy to mesh.” You can read more here. Today, the Coalition for Immigrant Rights of Idaho plans a rally at Meridian City Hall to protest Labrador’s move.

* The family of Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier from Hailey captured four years ago in Afghanistan and still held as a prisoner of war, received a letter from their son after working with the International Committee of the Red Cross. The family said it was “greatly relieved and encouraged by this letter;” read the full story here from the Associated Press.

* Idaho’s latest tax revenue figures, for the month of May, came in 2.4 percent below forecast, but that followed a big surplus in April, the state’s biggest month for tax revenue, bringing the state to 3 percent above forecast for the fiscal year to date; Idaho’s fiscal year ends June 30. You can see the general fund revenue report here.

Trib: Jeers To Raul For Bailing Out

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Congressman Raul Labrador gives jeers to …

… to Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. Being part of the eight House members from both parties hammering out an immigration reform bill got Labrador a seat next to "Meet the Press" host David Gregory and "This Week's" George Stephanopoulos. Of course, Idaho Education News' Kevin Richert and the Associated Press' John Miller can't get their calls answered. But, hey, his time is limited. Until Wednesday, when Labrador turned his back on the immigration reform negotiations just as his seven colleagues got some traction. Labrador objected to giving newly legalized residents access to public health care. Maybe that's a deal-breaker for Labrador, but not for the remaining Republican members of the panel - Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, John Carter and Sam Johnson, both of Texas. "We have found a way forward," Carter told The Hill newspaper/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Was Congressman Labrador looking out for his best interests when he bailed out on other House members trying to hammer out immigration reform?

Labrador Quits House Immigration Bill

A bipartisan House immigration group has lost one of its eight members, as conservative Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) informed colleagues Wednesday that he could not sign on to legislation the group hopes to release in the coming weeks. Labrador told reporters after an hour-long meeting that he was leaving the group because of concerns that the bill would not sufficiently protect taxpayers from footing the healthcare bill of undocumented immigrants.“I’m just going to move on and work with other members of the House Judiciary Committee to try to craft legislation that can actually pass the House,” Labrador said/Russell Berman, The Hill. More here.

Question: Did Labrador make the right move?

Labrador losing fourth staffer in 5 months, this time his chief of staff

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An industry group that promotes burning brown coal to make energy poached U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador's top staffer, marking the latest employee to exit the second-term lawmaker's office. The Lignite Energy Council named Jason Bohrer, Labrador's chief of staff, as president and chief executive officer. The Bismarck, N.D.-based group says Bohrer replaces John Dwyer, who is retiring after 30-plus years. In addition to his role in Labrador's office, Bohrer also worked for Idaho Sen. James Risch. Bohrer is slated to start in July. He's a North Dakota State University graduate. Other recent, high-profile departures from Labrador's office include spokesman Phil Hardy, fired in February after sending an errant Twitter message in the congressman's name. District director Jake Ball quit this month, while campaign manager China Gum left in January.

Click below for a full report from the AP; Labrador's now lost eight staffers in a year.

Labrador continues to surprise Idaho’s political establishment…

Spokesman-Review correspondent Kip Hill writes in Sunday’s paper, “While speaking to Latino voters in Boise about a decade ago, Raul Labrador caught the eye of Idaho’s highest-ranking Democrat in the state House of Representatives. The audience was captivated by Labrador, an immigration lawyer fluent in Spanish, and former state House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet recalls pulling the charismatic speaker aside to explore his interest in running for a seat in the Idaho Legislature. “I talked to Raul and asked, ‘Would you be interested in running for office?’ ” Jaquet explained, learning that Labrador already had given it some thought. But when they began talking partisan allegiances and Jaquet’s interest in recruiting him to run as a Democrat, Labrador began to laugh. “No, no, I’m a conservative Republican,” he told her.

Writes hill, “It wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last, that the political establishment would be surprised by Labrador, now Idaho’s 1st Congressional District representative. In a seven-year political career, the 45-year-old from Eagle has positioned himself as a resoundingly conservative voice among young Republican lawmakers trying to broaden the GOP’s appeal among voters. With immigration reform as a potential vehicle to do just that, Labrador is combining his political wisdom with a familiar leadership role to try to nudge the party back to its populist conservative roots.” You can read the full article here.

SR: Immigration Reform Time Ripe

The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board calls on Congress to seize another golden opportunity for reforming immigration:

Conditions are also ripe for a bill in the House, because Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, has the credibility to persuade “Young Turk” conservatives who gained office in 2010 that reform is good for the party and the nation. Labrador is a former immigration lawyer and, as a recent National Journal article noted, his knowledge and Puerto Rican roots enable him to neutralize the immigrant-bashers in his caucus. This is the best opportunity since the 9/11 attacks to solve this complicated issue, so we encourage Congress to seize it. More here.

Question: I think it's swell that an Idaho congressman may be instrumental in solving the ongoing immigration crisis. How about you?

Popkey: Media Discovers Labrador

It’s been a busy week for Congressman Raul Labrador’s spokesman. Three times, Michael Tate has alerted reporters that major new outlets have — for the umpteenth time — hailed his boss as a key player on immigration reform. On Friday, Tate circulated a cut-and-paste of the latest subscription-only story in National Journal. Headlined “Don’t Call Him Marco Rubio,” reporter Tim Alberta quotes a House GOP aide as saying Labrador is “more important to getting (immigration reform) passed through Congress than Marco Rubio” because of his influence with conservatives. Rubio, of course, is the telegenic Cuban-American senator from Florida and presidential prospect/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Is it good or bad for Idaho's image that the national media are spotlighting Congressman Raul Labrador?

Atlantic Mag Spotlights Labrador

The Atlantic has an interesting profile of Idaho 1stDistrict Rep. Raul Labrador this week, headlined, “Does the Fate of Immigration Reform Depend on This Idaho Congressman? Puerto Rican-born, Tea Party-purist, GOP-leadership-defying immigration attorney Raul Labrador has confounded expectations throughout his political career.” In the piece, Labrador talks about immigration reform, saying, “Most hardcore conservatives in the House come from rural agricultural districts, so we understand the need for reform”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (AP file photo of Raul Labrador)

Question: Izzit just me, or has Congressman Raul Labrador become a major player on the Washington scene — and among the national GOP?

Labrador to the Atlantic: Conservatives understand need for immigration reform

The Atlantic has an interesting profile of Idaho 1stDistrict Rep. Raul Labrador this week, headlined, “Does the Fate of Immigration Reform Depend on This Idaho Congressman? Puerto Rican-born, Tea Party-purist, GOP-leadership-defying immigration attorney Raul Labrador has confounded expectations throughout his political career.” In the piece, Labrador talks about immigration reform, saying, “Most hardcore conservatives in the House come from rural agricultural districts, so we understand the need for reform."

Labrador also tells the Atlantic, “The old guard believes that if we fix the immigration we will all of a sudden get 43 percent of the Hispanic vote. We won't. In fact, I don't think we will get much credit for fixing the immigration problem." But he does see broader political advantages. "If we fix this problem, [Hispanics and minority voters] will listen to us on other issues." You can read the full article here.

Labrador renews push to require congressional approval for national monument designations

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador has reintroduced a bill that would require congressional approval any time a president wanted to carve out new national monuments across the country, the Idaho Statesman reports today; click below for a full report from the Statesman and the Associated Press. Presidents have sole authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect land under national monument status, and presidents from both parties have used the law to designate monument status on places such as the Grand Canyon and Idaho's own Craters of the Moon. But Labrador argues Congress should have greater oversight on such decisions.

Raul Wants Distance On Crane Flub

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador’s spokesman asked that a photo including Labrador alongside Idaho House Assistant Majority Leader Brent Crane, R-Nampa, be replaced on the Statesman’s website. The photo accompanied my column Friday exploring Crane’s erroneous claim that civil rights icon Rosa Parks was standing up to the federal government in 1955 when she refused to obey a Montgomery, Ala., city ordinance that she give up her seat on a bus to a white man. Crane invoked the memory of Parks during his debate last week in opposition to Gov. Butch Otter’s bill to establish a state-run health insurance exchange under the U.S. Affordable Care Act, saying, “One little lady got tired of the federal government telling her what to do”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Thoughts?


Read more here: http://blogs.idahostatesman.com/labrador-wants-distance-from-friend-crane-on-rosa-parks-flub/#storylink=cpy

A sign that Labrador won’t challenge Otter after all?

Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports today that 1st District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador had been scheduled to appear at two eastern Idaho county GOP "Lincoln Day" events last weekend, but instead canceled. That suggests he may be backing off from the idea of challenging Gov. Butch Otter in 2014; Labrador has said he's mulling that but hasn't decided.

"If he was trying to do everything he could to challenge Gov. Butch Otter in the May 2014 primary, he would have been on the stump rather than with his family in Eagle," Popkey writes; the eastern Idaho GOP events offered a chance for exposure in the 2nd Congressional District, where Labrador isn't as well known as in his own 1st District. "Coupled with Labrador's co-hosting of a fundraiser for Otter's re-election campaign Monday in Washington, D.C., the cancellations signal that he might be shying from the risk of facing a well-funded, well-liked governor who has been in statewide or congressional office continuously since 1987," Popkey writes; you can read his full report here.
  

Labrador fires spokesman Phil Hardy after racy Super Bowl tweet

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador fired an aide who sent a tweet that appeared on the congressman's account commenting on a sexually provocative television advertisement during the Super Bowl. The Idaho Statesman (http://tinyurl.com/a3nj2sm) reports Labrador spokesman Phil Hardy was jettisoned after the incident in which a tweet was posted on the second-term Republican congressman's account that read "Me likey Broke Girls." It was a reference to two actresses from the TV show "2 Broke Girls" doing a pole dance in the Super Bowl ad. The tweet was deleted 14 seconds after it was posted, but is viewable through a website that collects deleted tweets from politicians. The same tweet appeared on Hardy's personal account. Labrador's office, which has apologized, didn't return a call seeking comment. Neither did Hardy on Tuesday.

Adler on Labrador: ‘Not a promising path to legislative success’

1s tDistrict Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador was scheduled to meet with House Speaker John Boehner today, but Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports that both are mum about what was said – or if the meeting even happened as planned. Meanwhile, Boise State University political scientist David Adler, director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy, says in a new essay that the feud between Labrador and 2ndDistrict Congressman Mike Simpson over Labrador’s support of an ill-fated attempt to overthrow the speaker shines light on the style and effectiveness of both lawmakers: Simpson’s style is similar to that of the effective deal-making of McClure and Andrus, Adler says, while Labrador’s approach is “more ideological and reflective of an insurgency mentality,” and therefore, “one that is likely to win attention, particularly media attention (which he has received), and designed to win primaries and elections in a safe district, but is not a promising path to legislative success.” You can read Popkey’s full post here, including Adler’s full essay.

Labrador says he’ll decide early this year whether to run for Idaho guv

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador says he's waiting to see what happens in Congress and efforts to reform immigration before deciding whether to run for Idaho governor. Labrador is among several Republicans who have been contemplating a bid to be the state's next chief executive. Labrador told the Idaho Statesman his top priority is getting something done on changing the nation's immigration system and laws. The second-term congressman says he is likely to make a decision early this year whether to run for governor in 2014. Labrador says contrary to what many people may think, he hasn't made up his mind on running for the state's highest office. Meanwhile, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has said he intends to seek a third term, though Otter has not yet made a formal announcement.

Feud between Simpson, Labrador the talk of Idaho political circles today…

The feud that's broken out into the open between Idaho GOP Congressmen Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador - detailed in a Sunday story in the Idaho Statesman by reporter Dan Popkey - is the top political news of the day in Idaho. Click below for Popkey's full report, via the Associated Press. Simpson told Popkey that Labrador has forever undermined his effectiveness in Congress by plotting to overthrow Speaker John Boehner and publicly refusing to vote for his re-election on Jan. 3; consequences could include Idaho getting punished when Labrador pushes legislation, with the state the ultimate loser. In response, Labrador called Simpson a "bully" and "an old-school legislator that went to Washington, D.C., to compromise," Popkey reported.

"That's how you get to a $1 trillion deficit, by just tinkering around the edges," Labrador said. "But I think we live in a new world where we have some very serious fiscal issues in America, and you need to have people who are willing to say 'no' to a lot of things — things that are very popular back home — and that are willing to put their political careers on the line."

Popkey has an update here today on his blog, entitled, "Just how much do these guys dislike each other?"

Labrador mum on speaker vote abstention

 Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador not only abstained from the vote to re-elect John Boehner as speaker of the U.S. House, he collected a vote himself for the post. Ohio GOP Rep. Justin Amash, who’s at odds with his party leadership and recently was stripped of his committee assignments, sent out this tweet about his decision to vote for Labrador instead of Boehner: “Proud 2 vote 4 @raul_labrador 4 Spkr. Raul would defend liberty & work honestly w/Ds on debt reduction. We must act now 4 sake of next gen.”

Only 12 House Republicans didn’t support Boehner’s re-election bid as speaker; he won with 220 votes, six more than were required. Labrador had no comment about why he abstained. “He’s not saying anything,” spokesman Phil Hardy said. You can read my full Sunday column here.