State Politics

It’s official. Raul Labrador hopes to serve as Idaho GOP chairman, support Trump’s re-election

After weeks of speculation, former Idaho U.S. Congressman and state legislator Raul Labrador has officially announced his candidacy for Idaho Republican Party chairman.

Labrador said in an email sent to the Republican central committee on Tuesday that he has been “asked repeatedly in the past few months to consider a more active role in the Idaho State Republican Party.”

“After prayerful consideration, I feel the time is now and I am enthusiastically pursuing this opportunity,” he wrote.

As chairman, Labrador said his top priorities will be “to unify and strengthen the Idaho Republican Party for the coming years and to help President Trump get re-elected in 2020.”

“You have seen the daily attacks on the values that make America great. And you have watched — and I saw first-hand during my time in Washington — the unjust attacks on our duly-elected President,” he said. “I campaigned with the President, Vice-President, and Donald Trump, Jr. in crucial battleground states during the last few weeks of the 2016 campaign and will strongly support him here in Idaho and nationally again in 2020.”

Labrador served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 2006 to 2010. He was elected to Congress in 2010 and served eight years representing the first Congressional District. While in Congress, Labrador co-founded the House Freedom Caucus.

Labrador gave up his congressional seat in 2018 to run for governor in Idaho. He was defeated in the GOP gubernatorial primary by Brad Little.

The Idaho GOP will select its new chairman during its annual summer meeting June 28-29 in Boise.

Former Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna also is seeking the post, according to a May 31 Idaho Falls Post Register report.

Jennifer Locke has been the acting chairwoman of the state party since former chairman Jonathan Parker resigned in February.

Parker was arrested on May 30 in Boise and charged with stalking his estranged wife. During a court appearance Friday, he was arrested again on a warrant stemming from an April 10 alleged peeping Tom incident at the same apartment complex where his wife lives. The felony stalking and misdemeanor privacy trespass charges are both pending in Ada County district court.

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Idaho Statesman investigative reporter Cynthia Sewell was named Idaho Press Club reporter of the year in 2017 and 2008. A University of Oregon graduate, she joined the Statesman in 2005. Her family has lived in Idaho since the mid-1800s.