Incumbent, Lawrence Wasden to face two challengers in Republican Primary for Attorney General

Idaho Attorney General vets Medicaid expansion proposal
Posted at 3:00 AM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 13:18:47-04

IDAHO — As the May Primary approaches, we're sharing information about the candidates you'll see on your ballot.

In the Democratic Primary for Attorney General, Steven Scanlin is running unopposed, but the Republican incumbent will face two challengers on the Republican ballot.

The Attorney General provides legal advice to state government officials like the governor and the state legislature and defends Idaho's laws in court.

Art Macomber

Political newcomer Art Macomber is currently a lawyer in Coeur d'Alene.

If elected, his top priority would involve the Attorney General's role in filing lawsuits.

"The attorney general needs to be very active on behalf of Idaho and working with other states' Attorney Generals to push back against the federal powers so that it's only exercising the powers it was originally given," Macomber said.

This is something he feels isn't being done well enough right now.

Another priority would be changing the relationship between the Attorney General's office and the Legislature.

The way things are currently, he said, "It's put the Attorney General and the Legislature into a massive conflict of interest where the adversarial relationship between the branches is not respected."

Macomber's solution to this would be to establish separate counsel for the Legislature.

"Look at the Attorney General's office and figure out how many positions we don't need and assist the Legislature in setting up a Legislative Counsels office," Macomber said.

Raúl Labrador

Labrador has a lot of previous political experience including time in the Idaho State House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, a run for Governor and time as Idaho's GOP Chairman.

He did not respond to our requests for an interview but did participate in the Idaho Public Television Debate.

Where he also discussed changing how the legislature gets legal advice on proposed legislation...Recommending the attorney general not act as legal counsel for the legislature.

"I have thought that for many years, I proposed that when I was in the State Legislature," Labrador said.

But if the Legislature is not able to get its own attorney and the Attorney General continues to be the person providing legal advice on bills and defending them in court after they're signed into law, Labrador said the key is trust.

"If you have an Attorney General that is trusted by the Legislature, they will actually follow his counsel," he said.

Lawrence Wasden

"When the governor asks me, then I am his lawyer and I give him legal advice, not--I don't make his policy choices, I give him legal advice. When I'm asked by the legislature, the law says I'm required to give them an answer. My answer is the answer based upon the law, whether they like it or they dislike it," Wasden said.

The incumbent, Wasden's view on setting up a Legislative Counsel's office differs from the other candidates. He said it's not up to him, it's up to the Legislature because it's a policy decision.

His previous experience includes time as the Chief of Staff in the Attorney General's office before being elected as Attorney General.

If re-elected his top priorities would include providing Idaho's government entities with legal advice and continuing his work prosecuting sexual predators.

"Protecting Idaho's children from sexual predators on the internet, we're spending a lot of time and energy doing that," Wasden said.