U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador will run for re-election to Congress in 2014

August 14, 2013 

Congressman Raul Labrador, often mentioned as a possible candidate for Idaho governor, said he intends to seek re-election to his 1st District Congress seat.

At a press conference in Meridian, Labrador, a Republican from Eagle, said he is making a difference in Washington — with the deficit cut in half since he came to the House — and wants to stay where he has influence.

He still wasn’t ready to endorse Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, who has announced he plans to seek re-election in 2014.

“Butch Otter could do a better job,” Labrador said. “Hopefully with the leadership of the Legislature they can do a better job.”

Labrador said he wants to talk to Otter now that they are not viewed as competitors. He had one issue he thinks is important: “I think we are suffering because our tax rates are too high."

Though he’s just in his seventh year of public office — four of those as a junior member of the Idaho House — Labrador has developed a high profile in Congress. He's even been mentioned as a possible successor to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

Labrador had been considering leaving Congress to challenge Gov. Butch Otter in the May 2014 GOP primary. Labrador originally said he would decide by mid-year, but didn't say what his plans were until Wednesday, when he made it official at a press conference at Meridian City Hall.

Labrador, 45, was born in Puerto Rico and first elected in 2010 with tea party support to represent western Idaho's 1st District.

He has promoted changes to America's immigration system. But he's emerged as an opponent of legislation passed this year by the U.S. Senate, contending it does too little to halt illegal immigration.

As a state legislator in 2009, Labrador made a name for himself opposing Otter's push to increase Idaho's gasoline tax.

Otter, 71, has been continuously in statewide or federal elected office — lieutenant governor, 1st District congressman and governor — for 26 years. Otter also served four years in the Idaho House in the 1970s.

Here's the statement Labrador issued Wednesday:

Dear Friends: Over the past few months, many of you have encouraged me to run for Governor. I have been humbled and surprised by the great outpouring of support that I have received from the people of the great State of Idaho. Whether at a political event or a simple trip to the grocery store, many of you have stopped me to share with me your concerns and hopes about the future of Idaho.

Even though I was not thinking about running for a different office at this point in my life, I thought I should not ignore the requests of so many people who had worked so hard for my election and re-election to Congress. Thus, over the last few months, I have seriously considered whether I should run for governor. I have discussed it with my family and prayed about it. And I have reached a decision. The fact is, I love serving you in Congress. I have been honored to represent the people of Idaho's 1st Congressional District for the past two and a half years. I believe that I have been able to make a difference and have a lot of influence in Washington during my short time there, and I know I can have an even bigger impact in the years to come. Even though many of you had very persuasive reasons why I should consider running for governor, I genuinely believe that Congress is the best place for me to serve you at this time. I am grateful for your trust and confidence.

I’ve decided to end all the speculation and announce that I have no plans at this time to run for governor. 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.

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