U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador’s press office said Wednesday night he is “actively considering” a run for governor but is still focused on his role in Congress for the time being.
Labrador, a Republican who represents Idaho’s 1st Congressional District, has long been rumored to be interested in the job, but has so far always answered that he was focused on his upcoming term in Congress. However, an article in the conservative magazine National Review on Wednesday said Labrador had already made up his mind to run, citing the congressman’s colleagues.
The article, “Conservatism in the Era of Trump,” is about the role the House Freedom Caucus will play now that Donald Trump is going to be president. Labrador is one of the caucus’s most prominent members.
“Muddying the picture further is the fact that some of the House’s most stalwart conservatives have just left Congress or soon will,” says the article, written by Tim Alberta. “(Mick) Mulvaney (R-S.C.), of course, is headed to OMB. Scott Garrett, a Freedom Caucus board member, lost a hard-fought reelection battle in his New Jersey district. Louisiana’s John Fleming, also a board member, gave up his House seat to run unsuccessfully for the Senate. Raul Labrador, another board member, has been one of the most outspoken critics of GOP leadership — but colleagues say he’s decided to run for governor of Idaho, a decision that might remove him from the front lines of some intra-party fights, and would remove him from the House altogether in 2018.”
“Right now my focus is serving the people of Idaho in Congress and helping the new administration during the initial transition,” Labrador told the Times-News in an email Wednesday. “I’m actively considering a run for governor, but it’s way too early to talk about a 2018 race. When it’s appropriate I’ll make an announcement.”
Lt. Gov. Brad Little has already declared his intent to run for the job in 2018, as has former state Sen. Russ Fulcher, who ran against incumbent Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter in the 2014 primary. Otter, who is being vetted now for a possible job in the Trump administration, has said he won’t run for another term. Both Fulcher and Labrador are viewed as being to the right of Little and Otter and could potentially draw support from the same pool of more conservative Republican voters.