State Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, is lacking in name recognition in the northernmost parts of Idaho's 1st Congressional District, or so says Greg Smith and Associates, a company which released a poll Tuesday showing Labrador trailing his primary opponent, Vaughn Ward, 34-16 percent with 50 percent undecided, among 400 likely voters. Labrador, following a debate showed live on Idaho Public Television, said that he is not concerned about the results, and that he plans to push forward with his campaign.
The poll said that approximately 200 of the 400 people tallied are unsure of who they will vote for on May 25. Those likely, but undecided voters, Labrador said, are the key to hiselection win. "I think most people are going to decide in these last two weeks and I think you will see an overwhelming majority of the people who are deciding in the last two weeks will vote for me," said Labrador. Smith, in his analysis of the polling data, said that Labrador struggles with name recognition in the northern portion of the state, namely the cities of Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, and the surrounding area. Labrador said that he plans to spend three days in that region next week to meet with voters. He will also take part in another debate against Ward Tuesday in Post Falls.
In addition to sharing his campaign plans for the upcoming weeks, Labrador offered some of his post-debate thoughts with IdahoReporter.com. On immigration, which has become one of the focal points of his race versus Ward, Labrador said that he is supportive of using all technology available to federal officials to stop the inflow of illegal immigrants into the U.S., including unmanned aerial drones. He said that he is not opposed to requiring all guest workers, under a reformed guest worker program, to carry national ID cards that contain biometric identifiers.
First and foremost, however, Labrador believes that immigration reforms must provide a way for American companies to have access to labor not available in the U.S. "If American employers cannot find American citizens to do the job, we need a streamlined process," Labrador said. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who endorsed Ward in the race, has advocated sending 3,000 National Guard troops to the border to aid Border Patrol agents. Would that be enough for Labrador, who, last week called on President Barack Obama to do the same thing? "John McCain is an expert on the military so if he thinks that's enough, that might be enough, but we need to do something," said Labrador.
In Idaho's 2nd Congressional District, Republican incumbent Mike Simpson is taking heat from his challengers, Chick Heileson and state Rep. Russ Mathews, R-Idaho Falls, about his 2008 vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as TARP. When asked if he thought Simpson's vote was proper, Labrador said that while understands why Simpson voted the way he did, he would have never supported TARP. "We needed to correct the market and right now the market still has not been corrected," he said. Labrador said that the government should no longer bail out failing companies. He favors letting the market naturally correct itself.
Both Ward and Labrador are running on a platform that is opposed to tax increases and in favor of tax cuts. Labrador told IdahoReporter.com that if elected, he would immediately go to work to cut the corporate income tax rate, which is currently one of the highest in the world. In order for American companies to stay competitive in the global marketplace, he said, Congress must lower taxes, which will also keep companies from shipping jobs overseas. "If we cut our corporate tax, we will see American corporations coming back and you're going to see job growth," he said.