Elections

14 Idaho candidates on Trump, how they voted & his job performance today

Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a November 2015 rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a November 2015 rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa. AP

Idaho Republican candidates, including those who objected to President Donald Trump in 2016, are now courting Trump's supporters ahead of the May 15 primaries.

The Idaho Statesman asked GOP candidates across three key races about their thoughts on Trump. Here are their responses.

This report has been corrected to reflect Michael Snyder's actual votes.

1st Congressional District

RUSS FULCHER

Voted for Ted Cruz in the 2016 primary, Trump in the general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

President Trump has brought optimism back to our economy. He talks positively about the American economy and is re-establishing America’s global reputation as a nation of strength.

What has he done well?

Cutting taxes, eliminating regulations, and picking good conservative judges.

How could he improve?

Idaho can help negotiate with the Administration when it comes to controlling our land. We can manage, ensure access, and protect our land better than the federal government.

ALEX GALLEGOS

Did not vote in the 2016 elections. Gallegos, a recently retired Army lieutenant colonel, said he was on active duty that year in two other parts of the country, as well as cared for his children while his wife deployed to Iraq.

"Either between moves, jobs, or deployments, I missed the deadline for the submission of my ballot," he said. "Unfortunately, as statistics demonstrate, this is indicative of the experience of many service members and their families. ... We ask a lot of our service men and women, if we want to protect their voting rights and increase their participation, we must make it easier for them to vote absentee."

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

The President has effectively executed the primary responsibility of the President of the United States, which is assuring safety and security of the American people.

What has he done well?

The President is delivering on his promise to make America Great Again. Our economy is reinvigorated, free-market principles are working, de-regulation and lower taxes have removed the restraints on entrepreneurs and small business, unemployment is at record lows, minority unemployment rates are at the lowest levels ever, families are receiving bonuses, we are preserving our civil liberties as intended by the Constitution through the appointment of conservative judges, the individual mandate was eliminated, we are working toward decreasing the trade deficit, the readiness of our military is increasing, our adversaries are less emboldened, we are securing our borders, protecting our sovereignty, and ensuring that America remains the greatest example of democracy and freedom in the world.

How could he improve?

We need a Congress that will work to advance the President’s agenda, not impede it. The Constitution divides the branches of government to maintain a balance of power. The President was elected by the people to promote the people’s agenda; he cannot do that without the support of Congress. If we want the President and our nation to succeed, we have to change who we elect to Congress. I have served amongst the finest counter-insurgency professionals in our armed services, and I know that it is not good enough to simply “drain the swamp” you also have to clear it. Congress’ indiscipline is hurting the American people and career politicians have forgotten how to govern. They fail to understand that governance is about people, not politics. Indiscipline has resulted in no accountability in Congress. We are permitting Congress to side-step difficult issues, use partisan politics as an excuse for ineffectiveness, and leverage our children’s future to make up for short-term thinking. I am convinced that a lack of veteran representation in Congress (roughly 20 percent, which is among the lowest level in history) is bad for our nation. Veterans understand the importance of supporting the Commander-in-Chief. Lack of veteran representation in Congress is not representative of the people, jeopardizes our national security, and places our veterans and the All-Volunteer-Force at risk. If safety and security is our government’s primary responsibility, Congress should consist of adequate representation of representatives who understand that the price of freedom is not free. The President will achieve his agenda if he receives the support of the 116th Congress.

NICK HENDERSON

Voted for Trump in both the 2016 primary and general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

I am very impressed with all the President Trump has accomplished in his time as President, especially considering that he has faced unfathomable resistance from both Democrats and Republicans that are firmly entrenched party insiders. I want to see those “swamp creatures” gone, and I want to continue to advance and support President Trump.

What has he done well?

One of the most important things that President Trump has achieved has been deregulation, cutting 22 regulations for each new one passed. The appointment of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a major victory, and I hope President Trump is able to appoint at least one more judge. His expansion of the Veterans Choice Program was important. The repeal of the unconstitutional individual mandate and the passage of the tax cuts and jobs act.

How could he improve?

I would like to see President Trump improve by rejecting military action in Syria and by pulling our troops out of the region, out of Iraq (yes, they’re still there, despite Obama’s lies), out of Afghanistan, etc. I think President Trump also needs to put an end to this ridiculous, costly, Mueller witch hunt. Tax payers are done funding the delusions of the left.

DAVID LEROY

Voted for Marco Rubio in the 2016 primary, Trump in the general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

I support the President and appreciate his achievements and appointments. His untraditional approach to the presidency has been perplexing at times, but as my wife, Nancy, counsels about all politicians: “Look at what he does, not what he says.”

What has he done well?

The economy is roaring because he has created a pro-business climate by cutting regulation, taxes and bureaucracy. His conservative judicial appointments promise a greater adherence to strict law and order. The efforts to secure the borders are working. Our international prestige is on the rise from the boldness of his challenges to traditional democracy.

How could he improve?

I would prefer that the president preplan and coordinate his policy announcements to a greater degree, so as to avoid inconsistencies and reversals. He should also avoid name calling. President Trump should also visit Idaho and our glorious federal backcountry, our energetic cities, small town and farms to tune up and tune in on Western Rocky Mountain issues.

LUKE MALEK

Voted for Rubio in the 2016 primary, Evan McMullin in the general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

I think the President has really done an excellent job in several key areas: Reducing the regulatory burden on industry and simplifying our tax code. The progress made at the Stibnite mine in Valley County is the perfect example. They have made tremendous progress in permitting that mine because of the collaborative approach under this administration.

What has he done well?

First, I think the appointment of Neil Gorsuch will be a legacy that will make the country proud in the long term. I think his approach to streamlining the regulatory process so that projects like the Stibnite Mine can get underway faster are having a dramatic impact on Idaho. Finally, building consensus on tax reform was a monumental task, and my hat is truly off to him for his efforts there.

How could he improve?

I believe the process of campaigning and undertaking the Presidency has improved the President’s approach to certain topics. I think his approach is different than mine will ever be, but as someone who values my own authentic approach to issue, I have come to really appreciate the way he owns his unique approach. I hope that he will be able to reform health care in our nation, and I look forward to fighting alongside him to do so.

CHRISTY PERRY

Voted for John Kasich in the 2016 primary, Trump in the general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

I have been very pleased with President Trump’s performance. President Trump has demonstrated his support for America’s small businesses by cutting taxes and rolling back stifling regulations. He has demonstrated his willingness to work with Congress and be successful. His appointment of conservative judges is a huge win for conservatives across this nation. I look forward to working with him to keep our country moving in the right direction.

What has he done well?

In addition to his support for America’s small businesses, the President has kept his campaign promises and demonstrated his willingness to tackle the tough issues such as immigration, border security, taxes, trade deficits, tariffs, and our nation’s fight against terrorism and the use of chemical weapons. I especially appreciate the fact that when he draws a line in the sand he is willing to defend it. He is a tough negotiator and unafraid to stand up for the future of our country.

How could he improve?

He should stop tweeting in the middle of the night!

MICHAEL SNYDER

Voted for Trump in the 2016 general election. Snyder originally answered the Statesman's questions about his 2016 votes by saying he "supported Trump from the very beginning of the presidential race, and I was very proud to vote for him." On Wednesday, he said he was traveling during the 2016 primary and did not cast a vote then.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far? What has he done well? How could he improve?

I think that Trump has done an extraordinary job, and that is why I am very proud to be the pro-Trump candidate in this race. He just needs more help in Washington. So the people of Idaho have a choice. They can send someone like me to Washington that is fully committed to the Make America Great Again agenda, or they can send someone like Luke Malek that once said on Twitter that Donald Trump “can go straight to hell.” Malek made that statement on Twitter on August 7, 2015, but now he is desperately trying to get the people of Idaho to forget that he ever said that.

GOVERNOR

TOMMY AHLQUIST

Voted for Marco Rubio in the 2016 primary and in the general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

President Trump is doing a great job. He is not only pushing through a conservative agenda, but he is showing what can happen when a political outsider shakes up the status quo just like I will do as a political outsider here in Idaho.

What has he done well?

Tax relief, regulation roll backs, more state’s rights and Justice Gorsuch are just four examples of things the President has done very well.

How could he improve?

Some people may not like his style, but they can’t argue with his conservative results.

RAUL LABRADOR

Voted for Cruz in the 2016 primary, Trump in the general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

His presidency has been very successful. We confirmed a conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice who will strictly interpret the constitution, we have cut over 20 regulations for every new one created, passed one of the most consequential tax reform packages in history, and created an environment that has produced one of the most robust economies in recent history. President Trump has done a great job so far.

What has he done well?

Trump has managed to do a good job keeping his campaign promises. He promised tax reform, and he got it done. He promised a conservative on the Supreme Court, and he got it done. He promised to be tough on immigration, and he is doing that. He promised to cut regulations, and he’s done that. He promised to fight against entrenched special interests in Washington, and he’s doing that every day. Despite the constant attacks from Democrats and the media, he’s been an effective president.

How could he improve?

I think he’s doing a great job.

BRAD LITTLE

Voted for Kasich in the 2016 primary, Trump in the general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

I think he has done well, delivering tax cuts, conservative appointments, tackling the Washington D.C. bureaucracy and reversing federal policies that stifle Idaho jobs.

What has he done well?

One of the greatest things he did in the first 100 days of office was the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.

How could he improve?

He could accept our executive order that provides Idahoans real relief from the Obamacare monopoly and delivers Idaho families affordable coverage.

LT. GOVERNOR

MARV HAGEDORN

Voted for Kasich in the 2016 primary, Trump in the general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

Although I’m not enamored with his character, I love the disruption he brings to D.C. politics as usual. His attention to regulation reduction, appointments of people who focus on positive change while putting America first has been something our national leadership has been lacking for years.

What has he done well?

SCOTUS appointment as well as surrounding himself with professionals and listening to them.

How could he improve?

Stop communicating like a New Yorker (my wife Patty grew up in New York and agrees). He needs to communicate his thoughts in a way the majority of the nation can relate to. His tweets, although disruptive to normal politics, more often than not are too personal and not in the best interest of presenting our President in a professional light.

JANICE McGEACHIN

Voted for Trump in the 2016 primary and in the general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

Fifteen months into Trump’s presidency, I am supportive of the efforts that he has made or attempted to make thus far. He has freed up business by eliminating excessive regulations, reduced the corporate income tax to be more competitive on a world stage, and is negotiating better trade policies for the United States. We have seen a reduction in ISIS terrorist activities and the Administration is enforcing the law on immigration. National Guard troops are being sent to our southern borders in an effort to crack down on illegal drug trade and human trafficking. The wall is being built on certain parts of our border.

What has he done well?

President Trump is the most pro-life president we have had in a long time. As Idaho’s next Lt. Governor, I look forward to working with the Trump Administration and finding solutions which are good for Idahoans and not the special interests.

How could he improve?

I would like to have seen better cooperation from Republicans in Congress on the full repeal of Obamacare. This law is destroying business and the individual because of its exorbitant costs and unfunded entitlements. President Trump will do even better as the swamp continues to drain.

BOB NONINI

Voted for Cruz in the 2016 primary, Trump in the general election.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

I like his first 15-month performance by shaking things up in D.C. and getting his tax overhaul through a moderate (get nothing done) Congress.

What has he done well?

Not putting up with the status quo in D.C. whether it’s from Congress or his own administration. He stands up to the world and stands up for America.

How could he improve?

By getting Congress and the moderate Republicans in the Senate to start supporting his agenda. Our Congress has gotten away with kicking the can down the road for way too long and that needs to stop.

KELLEY PACKER

Packer said she did not have time to respond due to family emergencies.

STEVE YATES

Yates was Idaho Republican Party chairman during the primary. He said as a result he had to remain neutral, and still today will not publicly say who he voted for. He in the general election he voted for Trump.

President Trump is 15 months into his first term, what do you think of his performance so far?

Promises made, promises kept. I can’t think of a president from either major party accomplishing more on major issues in his first 15 months—from the courts to the economy to veterans, defense, and national security.

What has he done well?

From deregulation and tax reform to appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, President Trump has made a positive difference in the lives of millions of Americans. For the first time in a long time, we have an Administration that is not actively trying to take away our rights, respects functions better done at state and local levels, and is taking steps to improve our economy, military and position in the world.

How could he improve?

President Trump isn’t a politician. While he has a lot of life experience working the media, he hasn’t been subjected to the overwhelming and never ending parsing of every word and action that comes with the presidency. Because of this, he is prone to saying the first thing that comes to his mind. On one hand, this is refreshing and I love it. It also allows President Trump to connect directly with the American people on a more personal basis. Over time, I believe he will improve at demonstrating that these disruptions are a means to better ends for our country, rather than disruption as an end in itself, as some may fear.

Cynthia Sewell: 208-377-6428, @CynthiaSewell
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