State Sen. Russ Fulcher welcomed the endorsement from Congressman Raul Labrador in his bid for Idaho Governor in the GOP primary.
"I think we need new direction and we need new leadership,” said Labrador (R-Idaho). “I think Russ Fulcher would be a fantastic Governor for the state."
Fulcher (R-Meridian) is going up against incumbent Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, who has been winning state elections for nearly 30 years. Fulcher criticized Otter's adoption of Obamacare and Common Core. If elected, Fulcher says his focus will be gaining control from the federal government in our land and education.
"We've fallen into this trap where the government is too much in control,” said Fulcher. “If we turn this control over to individuals and to families and the people, we've got all the tools we need. We have the human resources and natural resources to be very successful in this state"
It's not typical for a sitting congressman to forego backing the party's incumbent governor, but Labrador said he didn't like the way Otter operated.
"It's not really philosophical in the sense of conservative versus liberal,” Labrador said. “It's more about giving access to everyday Idahoans to government and listening to them."
Despite the high-profile endorsement, political analyst Jasper LiCalzi says it may not be enough to tip the scales for Fulcher.
"What really helps you out in a primary is organization, a way to get people out to the polls,” he said. “Labrador, I think, is quite popular, but I don't think he necessarily has the organization that Fulcher can use to actually get people to come out and vote."
Labrador is the first federal representative to endorse in the governor's race, but Otter has a long list of his own endorsements. Of note is the NRA, the Idaho Sugarbeet Growers Association, and the Idaho Building Contractors Association. More than 50 state legislators have also backed Otter. With a closed primary, the support of the party core leads to victory.
"The two candidates know who they've got to get out are the real more hardcore Republicans who are registered as Republicans," said LiCalzi.