Former Idaho State Sen. Russ Fulcher announced Thursday he would withdraw from the 2018 race for governor and run instead for the 1st Congressional District seat Rep. Raúl Labrador is vacating in his own run for governor.
Fulcher made the announcement in an early morning email to supporters and in an interview with KIDO radio’s Kevin Miller, calling his decision “a genuine attempt to act and react in a way to best serve the people of this state.” He will run for Congress with Labrador’s support.
“We recognize the best way to serve the citizens of Idaho is to work together,” Fulcher said in his statement. “The 1st Congressional District race needs a candidate who will champion limited government and Idaho values.”
Here’s his statement:
Fulcher’s move was expected following Labrador’s entry into the governor’s race last month. The two are political allies and share a base of support. His exit leaves a three-way contest in the Republican primary for governor involving Labrador, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, and businessman Tommy Ahlquist.
“I am convinced that this is the best move for Republican party unity and also the best move to change the direction of our state and country,” Labrador said in a statement endorsing Fulcher’s bid.
Fulcher will run in a Republican primary against former Idaho Attorney General and Lt. Gov. David Leroy, who announced his candidacy for Labrador’s seat in May. Leroy welcomed his new competition.
“Our differences will allow me to clearly present my unique qualifications, my conviction that Congressman should be a term-limited job, and my plans to break the gridlock, cut spending and defend the Constitution in Washington,” Leroy said in a statement.
Ahlquist also issued a statement wishing Fulcher luck and calling him a “good and honorable man who has worked hard for Idaho.”