Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador has filed paperwork with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office officially throwing his hat into the Idaho governor’s race.
In a prepared statement, Labrador said, “Running for Governor of the great state of Idaho takes serious preparation. To comply with both the spirit and the letter of the law, I have filed the appropriate campaign finance form required to register as a candidate for Governor. I'll be making a formal announcement in the coming weeks. Idaho needs a proven conservative leader who will stand against the special interests and politicians that have picked the winners and losers in our state Capitol for too long. Idaho needs a strong leader who will make government fair for everyone. Idaho needs a governor who will provide a new vision, a new approach and new leadership.”
Three other GOP candidates have already entered the race: Lt., Gov. Brad Little, Boise developer Tommy Ahlquist and former State Senator Russ Fulcher. The race also includes Democratic candidate Troy Minton and three independent candidates: Lisa Marie, Michael Richardson and John Wiechec.
Ahlquist was quick to issue a statement on Labrador filing. “I welcome Congressman Labrador to the race and look forward to a spirited campaign. The Congressman will bring his experience in Washington, D.C. to the race, and I am excited to continue sharing my conservative message of building an even better Idaho with a fresh approach and new ideas. I look forward to seeing the Congressman on the campaign trail,” he stated.
Little also released a statement, saying, “Here in Idaho, we are leading the nation in job growth, we are in the top three for best places to own a business, and wages for Idahoans have been growing at twice the national average. Our conservative Republican leadership in Idaho is leading Idahoans into prosperity. Idaho is not Washington DC, and I would like to welcome Congressman Labrador back home to the place where we balance our budget and conservative ideals guide us each day. Idahoans, including myself, look forward to hearing from Congressman Labrador about the accomplishments he has made while being in congress for over six years.”
Fulcher also weighed in with a prepared statement. “I welcome my friend Congressman Labrador to the race, and wish him and his family all the best. In 2014, he endorsed me in my race for Governor, stating he supported me because of my ‘political courage and fresh ideas.’”
Earlier this week, Labrador appeared on national media headlines when he said his answer to a question on health care at a recent town hall in northern Idaho “wasn't very elegant.”
Labrador has received criticism for saying that no one has died because they didn't have access to health care -- a claim disputed by health care officials and medical experts.
The Republican congressman was responding to a question during a town hall in Lewiston on Friday.
In his statement released Saturday, Labrador said he rejects the argument that the Republican health care plan recently passed by the House will cause people to die.
He also criticized the media for not focusing on his entire response to the question, adding that hospitals are still required to treat people in need of emergency care regardless if they can pay.
(Associated Press contributed to this story)