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Op-Ed: Labrador Looks Ahead, but Not Too Far

By • August 20, 2022

Former Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador is a politician who is loathed by his detractors and practically idolized by his supporters to the right. There is little room for neutrality.

That’s because Labrador is bold and brash. He makes campaign pitches about shaking up government, then carries out his promises when elected – with beauty being in the eyes of the beholder. So while his Republican supporters were celebrating his primary victory over longtime Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in May, detractors are dreading the prospect of him running for governor in four years.

Welcome to a day in the life of Raul Labrador.

“I don’t think there are many doubters about my ability to do the job (as attorney general). They’re worried about what I’m going to do four years from now,” Labrador told me.

But Labrador says he’s not thinking about four years from now. His immediate priorities are winning an election in November and meeting the lofty goals he has for the office.

“We have a very large attorney general’s office, and we are going to be the best law firm in the state of Idaho,” he says. “Right now, it’s the largest law firm, and my goal is to be the best law firm – with the best lawyers, the best staff and the best people in that office, representing the people of Idaho.”

It’s not going to be easy. Wasden has held the office for 20 years, and Labrador says changes will be made. And he will be judged by the quality of his work, which is something that he welcomes.

Labrador came to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2007, pledging to carry the conservative torch. He ended up being a lead player in the Legislature’s rejection of then-Gov. Butch Otter’s call for a gas-tax increase to meet infrastructure needs. Three years later, he defeated a Democratic incumbent (Walt Minnick) for the First District congressional seat and promised to shake up things in Washington. He was one of the founders of the House Freedom Caucus, which called out some Republicans for not standing by their conservative principles. That group was instrumental in changing the GOP’s leadership in the House.

Now, he’s promising to take on the Biden administration on abortion and other issues that he perceives as interfering with Idaho’s sovereignty. He expects to have Gov. Brad Little at his side during some of those challenges, although he notes that the governor’s support is not necessary.

“I will be an aggressive attorney general in representing the values of the people of Idaho. The majority of the people agree with these values that I espoused as a congressman and through my campaigns,” he said. “I am aggressive, and that’s why I have been successful in Idaho politics.”

Labrador is a politician, and he doesn’t deny it. On a personal level, he can be engaging, quick with a smile and funny. Generally, he seemed to be well liked by his colleagues during his time in the Idaho House and he often worked with Democrats on some issues in Congress.

When discussing his accomplishments in Congress, he leads off with constituent service – helping Idahoans wade through the bureaucracy.

“Some of my favorite letters were from Democrats who thanked me for my help, but said they would never vote for me,” Labrador said, chuckling. “That’s what being a public servant is all about – to help people with their needs.”

He scoffs at the notion that Idaho will get stuck with large legal bills, and frivolous lawsuits, if he wins the office. “If elected officials trust you when you give them legal advice, they are less likely to make mistakes that are costly to the state. You will see fewer instances of those mistakes.”

That is, if he’s elected. Democrat Tom Arkosh, a longtime attorney, is mounting an aggressive campaign against Labrador with the help of some longtime Republican officeholders – including former Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and former Attorney General (and Supreme Court Justice) Jim Jones. Labrador claims his opponent also is getting a boost from the “liberal” media.

“The Democrats get someone who registers as a Republican to vote against me, then registers as a Democrat to run against me,” Labrador said. “And he accuses me of being too political.”

It will be an interesting race to follow, for sure. The dust storm has just gotten started.

ctmalloy@outlook. Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at ctmalloy@outlook.com

Note: This Op-Ed was submitted by Chuck Malloy. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.


Tags: Attorney General, Chuck Malloy, Raul Labrador, Tom Arkoosh

10 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Labrador Looks Ahead, but Not Too Far

  1. Blabrador is a do-nothing all-talk politician. He accomplished nothing in Congress and only wants a state paycheck.

    You heard it here first. He will do absolutely nothing to defend Idaho’s sovereignty. He’ll defer to the SCOTUS every chance he gets and dodge doing any real work.

  2. I am hoping Labrador will do what he says; but, since he is a politician, I’ll believe it when I see it. Mr. Labrador is a career politician, and after his stint in Congress and his failed attempt at Governor, I saw him as simply someone looking for another public teat to feed from. The only reason he got my vote was because Idaho could no longer afford to have Wasden in office. Step up, Mr. Labrador, the people are watching and we WILL hold you accountable.

  3. Career politician? He’s mostly worked as a lawyer.

    Do nothing in Congress? He voted consistently for freedom and reduced government.

    I can see the leftists have even shown up on Idaho Dispatch now.

  4. Jones & Ysursa supporting Arkosh? Really? Bongino’s axiom holding true in Red State Idaho. “Most Republicans are democrats but no democrats are Republicans “.

  5. Raul Labrador is a man of integrity and he is MOST certainly a far cry from your typical garden variety politician. What this article didn’t say was that when he beat Walt Minick, way back in 2010, he was outspent 10 to 1!!! He won because of his policies and his Constitutional stand. Raul Labrador is EXACTLY who we need in the AG’s office. After years of having a suck-up, “yes man” in that position, we need someone who knows and follows the Rule of Law. Idaho needs to get back to her Independent, self-reliant roots. We need someone who won’t be afraid to stand up against the Federal overreach in our state!! VOTE LABRADOR!!!

  6. I’m not sure why anyone is paying attention to anything this useless Chuck Mallory says. I can get all of my unwanted local democrat spew from the Statesman. I come here to get away from it – yet here it is. WHY?????

    PLEASE toss this democrat activist back into the liberal hive where he belongs. I’m tired of him getting a platform to propagandize. He sounds and even looks like Liz Cheney. Why not invite her to write articles? Better yet, send and invite out to Shifty Schiff or AOC. I’m sure they would be more than happy to join in the chorus with Mallory.

  7. If we get assistance from Labrador in cleaning up our elections systems, then he’ll have my support, among other issues. Let’s hope he’s not just talk…..

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