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Sali Won More Votes Than Labrador

In 2008, in Idaho’s 1st U.S. House district, Republican Bill Sali lost his office to Democrat Walt Minnick. In 2010, Minnick in turn lost it to Republican Raul Labrador. Question: Which of these Republicans, Sali or Labrador, would you suppose won about 45,000 more votes than the other in these elections? You can guess where this is going: Sali, in losing, took 171,687 votes, while Labrador, winning this year – in a strong win by a strong margin – took 126,231 votes: Far fewer. Look closely at the vote totals in the two elections and you find what sure looks like evidence in Idaho of that vaunted enthusiasm gap: A relatively larger number of Democrats not voting in 2010 who had in 2008. The closer you look, the more it looks that way/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.

Question: Stapilus acknowledges a dropoff in voters can be expected in a nonpresidential year. But the dropoff for Minnick was steeper than the one for Labrador. Do you know a Demo who refused to vote for conservative Minnick?

Labrador Breaks Idaho Stereotype

Idaho elected its first Hispanic to represent the state in Congress on Tuesday, as Raul Labrador upset freshman Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick with a decisive 51 percent to 41.3 percent victory. Labrador, a conservative Republican state lawmaker and immigration attorney, said he thought the “first” was significant because it sent a message to the nation about Idahoans. “People have such a bad connotation of what Idaho represents,” Labrador said, “a bad place, a racist place. I can’t think of a better message for Idaho to send than to send a young man who was born in Puerto Rico, was raised in Las Vegas and was adopted by this state”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here(AP/Idaho Press-Tribune Photo: Labrador with his wife Rebecca inside the Republican election night headquarters in Boise Tuesday.)

Question: Will the election of Puerto Rican Raul Labrador as a congressman help change the nation’s view of Idaho?

Foster: No Regrets For Negative Ads

Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick’s campaign has no regrets for running negative advertisements against Raul Labrador, Minnick’s campaign manager said Wednesday. Labrador responded to Minnick’s negative ads with negatives ads of his own. Minnick campaign manager John Foster said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ran ads that were more negative than Minnick’s and ran them earlier in the campaign. He said that’s one of the reasons Reid beat Republican challenger Sharon Angle, and it shows the impact negative ads can have. Minnick fell victim to a nationwide Republican wave, Foster said, that was not unexpected/Mike Butts, Idaho Press-Tribune. More here.

Question: Did the negative ads really have an impact? Or was Minnick, like Dan English, simply a sitting duck who had 2 strikes against him: ‘incumbent’ and ‘Democrat’?

Celebrating Idaho Elephants

Idaho Republican Congressman-elect Raul Labrador, left, holds up his “Fire Pelosi” pin as he other Idaho republicans celebrate during a rally Wednesday at the steps of the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, Idaho. Shown at right is Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. Labrador unseated freshman Democrat Walt Minnick for the 1st Congressional District seat. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Chris Butler)

Question: How do you think Raul Labrador will do in the U.S. Congress?

Walt Reads Handwritin’ On The Wall

Idaho first-congressional district incumbent congressman Walt Minnick (D) monitors election results at his election-night party with son Dixon, 17, (to Minnick’s immediate right) and campaign staffer Dean Ferguson (background) on Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Joe Jaszewski - Idaho Statesman)

Question: What will be Walt Minnick’s legacy from his two years as a U.S. congressman from Idaho?

MM: Labrador-Minnick Disappointing

Moscow Minidoka: I’m disappointed in the Labrador-Minnick race, and also what a blowout the Otter-Allred race turned out to be. Oh well. However, I am very pleased to report that the Teabagger candidates running in Latah County were defeated. Thank God for that. I don’t mind the GOP taking back the House — in fact, I must say I kind of agree with Cabbage about the benefits of gridlock — but I really, really can’t stand the thought of Bohner as Speaker of the House. Did any of you hear him bawling last night? Geez… the spray on tan is bad enough …

Question: Were you disappointed in the outcome of any race last night? Which one(s)? Why?

Raul Labrador Releases ‘Family’ Ad

The Labrador for Idaho campaign today released its closing ad in the race for the First Congressional District entitled “Family.” The ad, which will begin airing over the weekend, spotlights Raul’s family values and his determination to get to Washington and start working to restore the American dream for Idahoans/Raul Labrador campaign news release.


Did Social Media Help Labrador?

In his Twitter last night, Dustin Hurst/Idaho Reporter made the statement “Weatherby says if not for social media, Vaughn Ward would be facing Walt Minnick Nov. 2.” I’ve noticed that Republican candidates, who were late getting to the party two years ago, were way more involved with the social media this time. Even Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent Tom Luna have Twitter accounts. In the primary, primary campaign spokesman Dennis Mansfield was tweeting from my office as I interviewed Raul Labrador. The R’s have come a long ways since I explained the social media landscape in Idaho to U.S. Sen. Jim Risch.

Question: What role has the social media played in the 2010 election campaign, either statewide or locally?

Minnick: Labrador ‘Out Of Mainstream’

Walt Minnick was listing off reasons why he contends rival Raul Labrador is “so far out of the mainstream,” from his positions on withdrawing from the United Nations to his support for repealing popular election of U.S. senators, and concluded, “He would deny his own daughter … the right to terminate a pregnancy if it were caused by rape or incest.” Labrador hit back, “I’m so far out of the mainstream that I was re-elected with 70 percent of the vote in my legislative district. I’m so far out of the mainstream that even the Idaho Statesman says that this is a dead heat, even though he’s spending $2 million to assassinate my character and I’m only spending $500,000. … The people of Idaho like my views/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. (AP/Statesman Oct. 14 File Photo: Katherine Jones)

Question: Can you describe what is mainstream in Idaho?

Press-Tribune Endorses Labrador

Raul Labrador is an easy choice for Idaho’s 1st District congressman. He’s smart, straightforward and says what he means. He’s a strict conservative who doesn’t compromise his beliefs to get votes. In interviews, debates and discussions with this editorial board, he did not hesitate or “talk around” the answer to a question. He just gives you his take, for good or for bad. In the upcoming Congress, Idaho needs a strong conservative voice. It can’t be someone who is trying to straddle the fence and decide when to vote to the left and when to vote to the right to save his place in the Capitol/Idaho Press Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with Idaho Press-Tribune editorial endorsing Raul Labrador?

ID Blogs: Labrador Wins If Luna Does

Today on KIDOam.com and 580 am (locally) Tom Luna and Stan Olson will debate their positions on the Austin Hill Show at 3 pm. Listen in!! It should be interesting … But there is something EVEN more interesting happening … My stake in the ground is set. It’s been there for over a month. As goes the Luna-Olson race in Idaho, so could go the races for Idaho Governor and US Congress (in the 1st CD.) I know, I know, Stan Olson and Tom Luna are NOT running for US Congress or for the Governorship. … they’re running for Idaho’s top education spot, which Luna has twice sought and once won. Yes, I know that. And in fact, that’s my point.

Question: What do you make of Dennis’s contention that the Luna-Olson race is a bellweather for how the other races go?

Minnick Lead Over Labrador Now 3%

Incumbent Rep. Walt Minnick’s lead over Republican Raul Labrador fell from 10 percentage points in mid-September to 3 percentage points late last week, says a poll commissioned by the Idaho Statesman and six other newspapers. The freshman Democrat’s lead is so narrow that it may not exist at all, because it falls within the poll’s 5-point margin of error. With Election Day just a week away, the nationalization of the race to control Congress may be helping Labrador in western Idaho’s strongly Republican 1st District, according to Boise State University political scientist Gary Moncrief/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Does this mean that Raul Labrador is surging to victory?

GOP Bus Hits Bump At Lake City High

A Lake City High Principal Deanne Clifford tells Republican congressional candidate Raul Labrador and others on the GOP bus tour, including 1st Lady Lori Otter and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde that they can't campaign on school grounds Friday evening before the football game with visiting Sandpoint. Earlier story here.

Minnick’s New Ad Attacks Labrador Ad

Walt Minnick’s latest television ad attacks the one that the Raul Labrador camp pulled for misleading information. More about this flap here.


Tea Party Express Backs Labrador

The Tea Party Express, a national tea party group that earlier chose Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick as its only Democratic congressman to endorse, today announced it’s endorsing Raul Labrador over Minnick. The group said it endorsed Minnick earlier “in light of his independence in standing up to significant items in President Obama’s agenda.” Minnick ended up rejecting the endorsement after the group’s head made racially charged statements on a blog. In today’s announcement the group said, “Since then, Congressman Minnick has engaged in a pattern of behavior which shows he is more responsive to the Democrat Party’s establishment than he is the voters of Idaho”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

  • Cutline: Singer Pat Boone speaks during a Tea Party Express rally at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Question: What is the net impact of the Tea Party Express switching its endorsement to Raul Labrador?

Trib Jabs Labrador For Dodging Issue

JEERS … to Republican congressional candidate Raul Labrador. In his televised debate with Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick last week, Labrador had this to say about trucking hundreds of megaloads hauling oil company equipment up U.S. Highway 12: Don’t ask him about it. Transportation is a state issue. Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter has done a “good job” of handling the issue. Come on, Raul. Sure, there are state issues that a congressman has no business messing with — such as budgets, taxes and initiative campaigns. But these “rolling roadblocks” — each as much as 24 feet wide, 210 feet long, 30 feet high and weighing 290 tons — will be traveling across a federally designated highway, built with federal highway tax dollars, across national forests and wilderness areas. It’s a matter of interstate commerce/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Is the mega-load controversy on Highway 12 involving various oil companies just a problem for the state of Idaho to deal with?

Labrador Pulls Ad Before It Airs

GOP congressional hopeful Raul Labrador today sent out a press release announcing a new TV ad for which airtime was purchased by the Idaho Republican Party Central Committee, featuring an audio clip from the 2008 “Idaho Debates” between Walt Minnick and Bill Sali, in which Minnick mistakenly said, “We need a middle class tax increase,” then two minutes later, corrected himself and said, “We need to have a middle-class tax cut.” But the commercial uses only the first statement. Further, the “Idaho Debates” are copyrighted material belonging to Idaho Public Television, and IPTV hasn’t granted permission for it to be used in political ads. Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko also sent out a press release touting and supporting the ad/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Did Labrador make the right move?

‘Sheriff Joe’ Arpaio Eyeballs SR

I finally got my hands on a photo of Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio eyeballing a copy of The Spokesman-Review the Oct. 5 morning after his speech to the Woman in Red banquet, sponsored by the Kootenai County Republican Women’s Federation. A Labrador supporter questioned my report later that week that Arpaio had given his candidate a lukewarm endorsement, stating at the breakfast: “I endorsed him?” I talked to two earwitnesses who heard the comment. Later, Arpaio pronounced himself solidly in Labrador’s camp on a radio talk show.

Question: OK, a couple of you have commented re: “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio’s obvious comb-over (which incidentally is a better topic than politics). Have you ever seen someone pull off a comb-over? What would you do if you were in the same circumstances re: thinning hair?

Statesman Endorses Minnick

The middle of the road is a dangerous place for any politician.Just ask Rep. Walt Minnick. Many Republicans will never forgive his support of lightning-rod Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Many of Minnick’s fellow Democrats will never forgive him for opposing the party’s centerpiece initiatives: health care reform, economic stimulus, cap and trade. But the problems facing America are serious, and the solutions must originate from the bipartisan middle. Congress needs to become more sober and more centrist. Minnick fills this job description, and deserves the support of 1st Congressional District voters/Idaho Statesman Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Are you more likely to endorse centrist candidates than ones who are know for being solid right or solid left?

AM: Minnick, Labrador Trade Barbs

Republican Raul Labrador, left, Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick, center, and independent Dave Olson, attend a debate Thursday at the Idaho House Senate auditorium in Boise. Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise, reports on the debate here. And: Kevin Richert/Statesman breaks down the debate here. (Idaho Statesman/AP photo: Katherine Jones)

Labrador: Repeal 17th Amendment

Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick said GOP nominee Raul Labrador’s support for repealing the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ”crazy,“ while Labrador countered that returning the election of U.S. senators to legislatures would boost states’ rights and cut government. The debate Wednesday on KBOI-AM (670) also included sharp exchanges on the leadership of the next Congress and on immigration. Labrador defended his view that ordinary voters should lose a right they gained when the Constitution was amended in 1913. ”I have a consistent philosophy about government and the importance of states’ rights,“ he said/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Would you prefer to have the state Legislature elect Idaho’s U.S. senators rather than Idaho voters?

Minnick Spends $745K On TV, Radio

Rep. Walt Minnick is using the airwaves heavily in his effort to win re-election in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District. New campaign finance reports show that Minnick, a Democrat, has spent more than $745,000 on buying TV and radio commercials. Minnick’s media buy is larger than the total amount raised by his Republican challenger, state Rep. Raul Labrador of Eagle. Labrador said he’s raised more than $525,000 since entering the race last December. Minnick’s campaign has raised more than four times that amount, $2.4 million/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter, More here.

Question: Has Walt Minnick’s TV/radio commercial buy been a good investment?

Walt & Raul Have Weird Debate Going

For the better part of a month, Congressman Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, and his Republican rival, state Rep. Raul Labrador, have been fighting about immigration. More to the point, they’ve been arguing over Minnick’s advertising campaign about immigration. The latest, airing throughout Idaho’s 1st Congressional District, has former Idaho U.S. Marshal Mike Johnson questioning Labrador’s anti-illegal immigration credentials because the Eagle attorney represents immigrants. What a strange debate this is. That is, when you consider they’re in tandem. On everything. Take your pick. Give Minnick a second term. Or send Labrador to Washington. Either way, your next congressman isn’t going to merely take a hard line on illegal immigration. He’s going after legal immigration, too/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Have you figured out which candidate has a stand similar to yours on the immigration issue?

Minnick Camp Calls TV Ad A ‘Smear’

The Minnick for Congress campaign reacted sharply to Raul Labrador’s first television advertisement, and called on him to remove the misleading commercial. “Raul Labrador’s hypocrisy is breathtaking,” Minnick for Congress campaign manager John Foster said. “He cries crocodile tears about negative campaigning, yet his first advertisement is little more than a spurious collection of innuendo and outright lies. The ad should be pulled immediately”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What do you think of Labrador’s TV ad?

Ex-Gov. Batt Endorses Raul Labrador

Former GOP Gov. Phil Batt, who backed Vaughn Ward in the primary for 1st District Congress, says he’d intended to keep quiet about his preference in the race. But Batt says Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick’s two TV ads attacking GOP nominee Raul Labrador for his practice of immigration law have prompted him to announce his support for Labrador. Batt also said it is “imperative” that Republicans control the House and impose financial discipline. Batt supplied a written statement to the Idaho Statesman, preferring that route to an announcement by the Labrador campaign/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Betsy Russell photo: Phil Batt with Vaughn Ward earlier this year)

Question: How big is former governor Phil Batt’s endorsement for Labrador?

‘Fire Pelosi’ Bus Rolls Into Caldwell

Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party Norm Semanko leads the GOP candidates off the “Fire Pelosi” bus as U.S. representative candidate Raul Labrador follows behind Saturday morning at the Canyon County Republican headquarters in Caldwell, Idaho. (AP Photo/The Idaho Press-Tribune, Mike Vogt)

Question: How well does the “Fire Pelosi” bus gimmick work in Idaho?

AM: Semanko, Labrador, & ‘Fire Pelosi’

The “Fire Pelosi” bus turns the corner in front of the Canyon County Republican Party headquarters Saturday, October 9, 2010 at the Canyon County Republican headquarters in Caldwell. More here. (AP Photo/The Idaho Press-Tribune, Mike Vogt)

Labrador Brings Ruby Ridge Into Race

Rep. Walt Minnick’s latest TV ad is sparking a new round of controversy. Republican challenger Raul Labrador fired back this morning with a scathing news release attacking Minnick’s messenger: retired U.S. Marshal Mike Johnson. The release centers on Johnson’s role as marshal during the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff, and quotes two retired deputy marshals who question Johnson’s judgment and ethics. “(Johnson) became one of the biggest embarrassments to this agency as well as to the other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. He exercised questionable, if not poor judgment during Ruby Ridge as well as in other events during his tour,” said retired deputy marshal Jack Cluff/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

  • Cutline: In this September 1992 AP/Statesman file photo, White supremacist Randy Weaver, right, is led from the Federal Building in Boise by U.S. Marshal  Mike  Johnson.

Question: Is it fair criticism for the Labrador camp to bring the specter of Ruby Ridge into the 1st Congressional District campaign?

SR Endorses Walt Minnick

In the Year of the Tea Party, U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick represents the type of middle-course pragmatist who is supposed to be road kill in November. Plus, he’s a Democrat in Idaho. So why is he doing so well in his race for re-election? For starters, he is running on a conservative fiscal record at a time when the debt and deficit have become increasingly menacing. And when we say “conservative,” we mean the type who wants to balance budgets, not cling to blinkered notions of never raising taxes. Minnick represents the type of old-school fiscal sanity that can steer the nation out of a mess/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Agree? Disagree?

Poll: Minnick Leads Labrador 37-31%

GOP congressional hopeful Raul Labrador released his own poll today showing Minnick leading him 37 percent to 31 percent, with 6 percent each for independent Dave Olson and Libertarian Mike Washburn and 21 percent undecided or favoring none of the candidates. The poll was conducted by Moore Information, which also did Labrador’s July 15 poll that showed Minnick leading Labrador by 10 points, 37-28 percent, with 26 percent undecided. “The momentum is with us,” said Labrador, who said he was “delighted” with his latest poll results; you can read more about it here/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.

Question: Do you think these numbers are legit, that Labrador has closed to within 6 points?