Raul Labrador called recent comments by Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the U.S. Senate, about Hispanics in the Republican Party racist, outrageous, and unacceptable.  The Republican candidate Idaho’s 1st Congressional District also called on Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick and party leaders to denounce Reid’s comments.

Reid, the Senate majority leader from Nevada, told The Las Vegas Review-Journal, “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, OK,” in an article about immigration legislation in Congress.

“Harry Reid’s latest race-baited comments are simply unacceptable to all members of the Hispanic community,” Labrador, who was born in Puerto Rico, said in a news release.  “Contrary to Senator Reid’s beliefs, the Latino community is perfectly capable of making choices of political affiliation that are in its best interests, including being Republicans.”  Labrador, a Republican state lawmaker from Eagle, also said he expects Minnick to “condemn these terrible comments immediately.”

Minnick won’t issue an immediate rebuke of Reid, according to his campaign manager, John Foster.  “Walt doesn’t make any decision based on what Raul Labrador tells him to do,” Foster told IdahoReporter.com.

Foster said no one besides Labrador so far has asked Minnick to condemn Reid’s comments.  “This kind of political rhetoric about issues outside of Idaho is frankly typical from a politician who’s made it clear he will say anything to win,” he said.

Labrador’s campaign spokeswoman, China Gum, said the lack of response from Minnick was disappointing, and called Minnick a candidate who hopes to say nothing at all in an effort to win.  “Alienating the many Idahoans who are Hispanic is not going to get his boss re-elected, yet that is exactly what John Foster has done with his ill-advised statement,” Gum said.

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