Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, has made it official: He’s running for the open 1st District congressional seat next year, the third big-name Republican to enter the race. “I’m running for Congress because we need a representative who will fight for Idaho’s future,” Malek said in a statement; he launched his run at a gathering of supporters yesterday in Coeur d’Alene. “In every town hall I attend, voters tell me the same thing: They don’t feel like the government is listening,” he said. “Idahoans are tired of the excuses. They’re looking for a leader who works hard, solves problems and will stand up to this job-killing bureaucracy. I share their views and will work tirelessly to make sure their voices are heard in Washington, D.C.”
Malek, 35, is an attorney and third-term state representative; a former Kootenai County deputy prosecutor; former North Idaho regional director for then-Gov. Jim Risch, and the co-founder of the Kootenai County Young Professionals organization. In the Legislature, he’s the vice-chair of the House Judiciary Committee and serves on the joint budget committee; he’s also been a key player in passing major legislation, from creating a computer science college degree program in North Idaho to legislation on health, transportation and public safety. He’s a graduate of Gonzaga Prep High School, the College of Idaho and the University of Idaho College of Law.
Malek also filed his official statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.
The congressional seat will be open because current 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador is running for governor rather than seeking re-election.
Already in the race are GOP former Idaho attorney general and lieutenant governor David Leroy, and former Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, who switched over from the governor’s race in June. Layne Bangerter, a longtime aide to GOP Sen. Mike Crapo and the director of the Trump presidential campaign in Idaho, also has said he’s considering the race. Three lesser-known candidates also have filed for the seat, Democrats Michael William Smith of Post Falls and Donald Miller of Meridian, and Republican Michael Snyder of Bonners Ferry.
Idaho’s 2018 primary election is May 15, followed by the general election on Nov. 6.