In 2006, voters in the Republican primary election chose among five men who wanted to represent Idaho’s 1st Congressional District. In 2010, with Republicans eager to take the seat back from Democrat incumbent Walt Minnick, another five-man primary looked likely, which could have been as heated and divisive as the 2006 race, when Bill Sali prevailed with only 26 percent of the vote. A five-man primary will not occur this year, as two candidates have dropped out in the past week.
Michael Chadwick withdrew from the Republican primary over the weekend and threw his support behind state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle. He pointed specifically to the 2006 primary race as the reason for withdrawing. "We don't want a repeat of the 2006 congressional race where one candidate won the primary election with less than 26 percent of the votes," said Chadwick.
The Republican from Post Falls also had critical comments about Vaughn Ward, the Marine reservist seeking the GOP nomination. Chadwick made a myriad of accusations against Ward, calling him a neo-conservative, a stealth candidate, and said that Ward is too moderate for some Republicans, like former presidential candidate John McCain, R-Ariz. Chadwick even went so far as to claim that those around Ward embellished his accomplishments in the military and the Central Intelligence Agency. The Ward campaign has yet to respond to Chadwick's assertions.
Along with slamming Ward, Chadwick explained his endorsement of Labrador, saying that he is a "true conservative in the tradition of Ronald Reagan." Chadwick praised Labrador's work in the state Legislature, and in particular on the Idaho Health Freedom Act, a bill co-sponsored by Labrador that gave the state the authority to sue over recent federal health care reforms. Chadwick said that Labrador is more in-tune with the common people of Idaho and that he will "seek to restore the principles of state sovereignty and personal liberty."
In the same announcement, Chadwick said he will challenge Idaho Sen. Jim Risch in 2014 and will begin that campaign this June at his campaign headquarters in Post Falls in north Idaho.
GOP primary candidate Allan Salzberg, a retired physicist, joined Chadwick in withdrawing from the race in the past week. Salzberg left the contest due to physical demands of the campaign and endorsed both Labrador and Ward upon his exit from the race.
Both Salzberg and Chadwick will have their names on the primary election ballot, at they both missed the April 10 deadline to officially withdraw at with the Idaho secretary of state. Left on the ballot will be Labrador, Ward, and Harley Brown, from Idaho City, whose campaign slogan is "Nuke their ass, take their gas." It is expected the race will come down to Ward and Labrador. Voters will go to the polls on May 25 to decide who they want to face Minnick.