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Op-Ed: Arkoosh Gets Boost, But Will it be Enough?

By • October 25, 2022

As October surprises go, this one was a doozy. Nearly 50 Republicans have lined up to support Democrat Tom Arkoosh over former Congressman Raul Labrador in a wild and crazy race for Attorney General. There are a lot of big names on the list – including former Gov. Phil Batt, former Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones, former Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and former First Lady Lori Otter. Labrador has never been a favorite of the GOP establishment, but this has turned into an all-out war.

One prominent Republican who is backing Labrador is David Leroy – a former Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor. He’s not judging those friends and former colleagues who are siding with Arkoosh, but disagrees with their reasons for crossing party lines.

“It’s based on presumed weaknesses that Raul either doesn’t have, or will not exhibit once he’s elected,” Leroy said. “Raul would do a superb job. An attorney general needs to be part of the majority culture within the walls of the Statehouse. Tom Arkoosh is a friend of mine and a fine fellow, but a Democrat will not be a quarter as effective – even with the same skills or talents – as a Republican will be.”

Leroy sees Labrador’s experience as a four-term congressman, and providing constituent service, as a plus for an attorney general.

“So many of our issues have a federal entanglement,” Leroy says. “Raul is the best prepared candidate for attorney general than we’ve seen in this century, and probably the last century.”

One underlying objection to Labrador is that he’ll run for governor in four years, and that scares the daylights out of some folks. Labrador ran for governor four years ago, promising to “drain the swamp” and shake up state government – rhetoric that establishment types don’t want to hear. Detractors see Labrador spending the next four years campaigning for the state’s top job.

Losing this race likely would end Labrador’s political career.

Leroy, who had plenty of political ambitions of his own when he was attorney general, is not worried about what Labrador “might” do with his political future. Leroy served one term as attorney general, then ran for lieutenant governor and governor – losing by a narrow margin to Democrat Cecil Andrus in 1986.

“I had political ambitions, yet I still get accolades for my service as attorney general. That’s because I lived and believed that attorney general was a fabulous job to show one’s legal skills in a political arena. If you are a good enough lawyer, you might get hired to be lieutenant governor – or governor,” Leroy said.

“I have absolutely no fear that Raul Labrador will take his eye off the ball as attorney general,” Leroy said. “It’s not a campaign office. It is a job where sophisticated high-level legal issues come at you daily. There’s plenty to do without striking a pose for a campaign poster.”

Arkoosh and others have criticized Labrador for lacking knowledge on water issues. And Labrador has acknowledged that he is not an expert in that area. “You know what? I’m not a water expert either,” Leroy said. But he added that he hired attorneys with expertise on water issues and successfully argued those issues to the Supreme Court.

It’s not unusual for a few Republicans occasionally backing a Democrat in a political campaign. But not to this magnitude. Endorsements from big-name Republicans certainly have given a moral boost for Arkoosh; the question is whether the endorsements will make a significant difference in the outcome. Dorothy Moon, who chairs the state Republican Party, makes a valid point. It’s a safe bet that many of the hundreds of thousands of people who have moved to Idaho in recent years have never heard of the list of Republicans favoring Arkoosh. And to a good number of those newcomers, the more conservative a candidate is, the better. GOP endorsements might help Arkoosh in Ada County, but that won’t necessarily be the case in North Idaho, or in rural communities where folks automatically vote for Republicans no matter what.

Newspaper headlines are not nearly as effective as a wave of television advertising. Arkoosh still is largely unknown outside of the Treasure Valley. But there’s no question that the Republican defections in this race have added some luster to an otherwise dull campaign season. I’ve been following Idaho politics for a long time, and this is the darndest thing I’ve seen.

This Op-Ed was submitted by Chuck Malloy. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
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Tags: 2022 Idaho General Election, David Leroy, Idaho Attorney General, Idaho Democratic Party, Idaho GOP, Raul Labrador, Tom Arkoosh

28 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Arkoosh Gets Boost, But Will it be Enough?

  1. This “opinion” is pure progressive propaganda, which tells me that the only reasonable, principled candidate is Raul Labrador.

  2. RINOs defined. You can bet that the assumption is that we should support Republicans up and down the ticket when it’s the good old boys club. Of course we shouldn’t return the favor when it’s not their chosen candidate. These people suck

    He’s got my vote.

  3. Here’s the skinny. Arkoosh didn’t even win the Democratic primary. He was promoted by Republicans who are terrified that Labrador will actually call Little on the carpet for overstepping his authority – precisely the reason Lawrence Wasden lost the primary.

    Labrador is a conservative and an Idahoan. Arkoosh is a pretender.

  4. Now y’all know the list of “republicans” to never vote for in future elections. Save that list of defectors!

  5. Any Republican voting/ Supporting a Democrat is a pure sign of Corruption. All of those Republicans voting for a Democrat should be investigated for Corruption, Fraud, Money Laundering etc, etc.

    Also, Ammon Bundy is a far better candidate for Governor then Brad Little who 100% Corrupt ,lies, Cheats, Sitting on Tens on BILLIONS of Federal money.

  6. An interesting but incomplete assessment of the dissident group of “50”. I have seen three lists and can only come up with 23 names. The average age of the “sclerotic” Democratic Wing of the Idaho Republican Party (DWIRPs) is over 70. In addition to David Leroy, Russ Fulcher has endorsed Raul. Many on the list are Pro- Choice (anti-Pro Life). There are no YOUNG REPUBLICANs in the group. This is a group that as a whole have throughout their political careers been in “the back pocket” of special interests (IACI, IMA, IHA IEA, et. al). Many in the group have been part of a budgeting process—JFAC, that is anachronistic and wasteful. Anyone who knows the political philosophy of many in the group will know immediately that they should vote for Raul. Many in the group supported the Federal Governments position in Federal Court against the Idaho Pro Life “trigger law”. Finally, an analysis of where the funding of Raul’s opponent is coming from—large corporate interests and outside of the State money. Raul’s support is coming from within the State and small donors. The Idaho establishment is scared stiff that Raul will finally bring accountability and transperancy to Idaho government.

  7. It never ceases to amaze me how many people use the lame excuse that Labrador might run for governor in 4 years, since he ran once before. The exact same thing is true of RINO Bedke, but no one complains about him–the former House speaker who played dirty tricks to keep conservative legislators from getting bills to the floor, and who had the worst record on spending in the entire House, including Democrats!

    That said, the “water issue” that Arkoosh keeps harping on is one of his delusions. In the debate with Labrador, Norm Semanko’s name came up–Norm literally IS the expert on Idaho water law. Arkoosh claimed that HE (Arkoosh) was the one who is in the limelight on that issue, and that Norm played some secondary role. What utter false self-aggrandizement! (BTW, Norm–who actually IS an expert on water law–contributed to Labrador’s campaign. Look it up on the Secretary of State’s Sunshine page!)

    Labrador freely admits he isn’t an expert in every area of law–and knows enough to surround himself with the right people who DO have expertise in areas he may not. That is how good leaders work. I, for one, am sick and tired of politicians (like Arkoosh) who CLAIM to know it all and really don’t.

  8. All of these comments support Labrador. I’m not sure that I want to get on that band wagon. I have already submitted my absentee ballot, and for that political position I didn’t vote for either. I had researched Labrador’s political accomplishments and I was unimpressed. I was afraid that he would just be “one of the good old boys” again. On the other hand I couldn’t find enough about Arkoosh to influence my vote, and I couldn’t bring myself to vote for a democrat without some solid information. Thus, for that position my ballot was unmarked and I let the other Idaho voters make the selection. Bottom line – I will not vote for Labrador for any political position.

      1. Jenna, where did you find the “good parts” about Labrador’s voting activities? When I looked at the site that evaluated candidates I didn’t see much reason to vote for him. I wish that I had saved the link to the site after I voted so that I could share it with voters. My bad.

        1. Which site were you looking at? I like the one from the Idaho Freedom Foundation which rates every politician according to their actual votes. You might be surprised just how far down many of the “Republicans” including Bedke actually sit (49%). The BEST ones like McGeachin, Giddings, Moon, and others sat over 90%. And these are the ones Governor Little’s band actively campaigned against when they weren’t slandering them or bringing false legal charges against them.

  9. Raul is a conservative w/ integrity and trustworthy ness! Glad he is not part of the
    GOP political establishment clique. Do you remember their embarrassment, Vaughn Ward?

  10. Pretty much the Republicans are at best the lesser of the two evils. Idahoans are pretty much lovin the lesser of the Two evils .

    1. I didn’t find any “good” information on Labrador. And just having an R behind his name doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a good choice.

  11. The state GOP needs a stake driven through its heart. it is RINO to the core. Labrador would be a great AG and be there to fight for Idaho, unlike the current RINO who was missing in Action on the stolen 202 election.

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