BOISE – Former Republican U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador filed paperwork Wednesday to challenge incumbent Republican Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to be the state’s chief legal officer.
Labrador served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before running for governor in 2018 and losing in the primary to Brad Little, who went on to become governor.
Wasden is in his fifth term and is the longest serving attorney general in the state’s history. He has not officially announced if he’ll seek a sixth term, but he’s listed as as active candidate on the secretary of state’s website.
Labrador in an interview with the Associated Press said Wasden hasn’t been aggressive enough in defending the state’s interests.
“I think Idaho needs an attorney general that will defend the sovereignty of the state,” Labrador said. “Will defend the individual rights of Idaho citizens, and will fight the Biden administration on everything they’re doing to encroach on our rights and liberties.”
According to Little, Wasden facilitated Idaho becoming part of two lawsuits challenging President Joe Biden’s vaccine requirements involving federal contractors and another involving private employers with 100 or more employees.
Idaho has had poor results defending laws passed by the Legislature that have been challenged as unconstitutional. One loss involved the state’s ban on gay marriage.
Labrador said he could help the state win lawsuits.
“My goal would be to be a partner with (the Legislature) to make sure they can draft, craft and pass legislation that can withstand the challenge in the courts instead of doing what this current attorney general does, which is he gives the ACLU the road map on how to get defeated in the courts,” Labrador said.
Wasden, who has described his job as calling balls and strikes, is frequently asked to provide an opinion on whether a proposed law could withstand a legal challenge.
Labrador is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus who unsuccessfully ran for majority leader in 2014.
Two other Republicans, Arthur Macomber and Dennis Boyles, are also in the race.
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