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Labrador changes course, joins GOP’s ‘Young Guns’ program

Labrador changes course, joins GOP’s ‘Young Guns’ program

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
August 6, 2010

Raul Labrador will participate in a national Republican Young Guns program aimed at helping candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.  Labrador, who is challenging Democrat Walt Minnick in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District, told IdahoReporter.com last month that he chose not to participate in the program.

Labrador, a state representative from Eagle, is currently at the “On the Radar” status of the Young Guns program, run by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).  That’s the lowest level of program, below contender and Young Gun.

Labrador said he decided to join the program after meetings with Republicans in the U.S. House last week.  He said NRCC leaders told him they wouldn’t change his campaign themes.  “After being assured they would not interfere with our campaign’s Idaho-focused strategy, I agreed to participate in the Young Guns program,” he said in a news release.  “This should prove useful and allow me to be a more effective candidate.”

“The NRCC is committed to working with Raul Labrador as he continues to meet the rigorous goals of the Young Guns program,” NRCC Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said in a separate news release. “Raul is an accomplished, independent leader who will fight to create jobs and rein in government spending.”

Labrador trailed Minnick in recent polls and is far behind in campaign fundraising.  Minnick’s campaign manager, John Foster, said Labrador’s joining the NRCC program won’t greatly affect the campaign.  “I don’t think it will have much impact on the race, other than to highlight Raul’s long record of flip-flopping when it suits his political purposes,” he told IdahoReporter.com.  “He’s shown that he’s had a lot of difficulty generating support for his campaign.”

One member of Congress who spoke highly of Labrador during his meetings in Washington, D.C., last week was Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.  “We’re excited about your campaign because it has already demonstrated its professionalism in managing resources, delivering a solid message and organizing the grassroots,” McCarthy said.

Labrador is not yet shown on the Young Guns’ website, which lists 40 Young Guns, 34 as contenders, and 49 as on the radar.  Labrador’s opponent in the GOP primary, Vaughn Ward, was considered a Young Gun by the NRCC.

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