The 2010 Republican primary race has been one of many endorsements for the two front-runners in the contest, Vaughn Ward, a Marine reservist, and state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle. It continues to be that after Labrador on Friday received an endorsement from Dr. Allan Salzberg, a former congressional foe of both Ward and Labrador.
In an announcement on Labrador's campaign website, Salzberg said that after closer inspection of both Ward and Labrador, he has chosen Labrador. "After coming to know the two principal candidates better, their records and character, I have decided it is important to do more than get out of the way,” said Dr. Salzberg in a prepared statement. “Given the stakes in this election, I feel it is incumbent upon me to urge my supporters to get behind the proven conservative leader in this race – Rep. Raul Labrador." When he dropped out of the race April 19, Salzberg endorsed both Ward and Labrador, saying, "Both Raul and Vaughn could represent Idaho, and I intend to help either. I will not pick a favorite at this time."
Salzberg joined state Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, and Michael Chadwick, Post Falls, in candidates who were at one time in the race but are now backing Labrador. Upon his exit, Chadwick ripped Ward and lauded Labrador, calling Ward a stealth candidate and too moderate for Idaho and Labrador a true conservative leader.
Labrador accepted the endorsement and said that he will consult with Salzberg, a physicist, on matters of energy and health care. “I welcome Dr. Salzberg’s help in further developing my positions in these two critical policy areas so important to Idaho’s future,” Labrador said.
Of Salberg's endorsement, Ward campaign spokesman Ryan O'Barto said "“Dr. Salzberg has one vote just like the rest of us. We have thousands of Idahoans who are supporting our campaign that believe Vaughn Ward is a strong fiscal conservative that will cut spending, put Idahoans back to work, and end politics as usual in Washington D.C. “
Ward has received endorsements from national figures Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and former Idaho Govs. Dirk Kempthorne and Phil Batt. He has also received support from Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, as well as several lawmakers in Canyon and Kootenai counties. Labrador has been endorsed by 33 members of the Idaho House of Representatives, including the Speaker of the House, Lawerence Denney, who, along with state treasurer Ron Crane, serves as Labrador's honorary campaign co-chairs. Labrador also received an endorsement from Idaho Chooses Life, a pro-life group based in Boise, which said that it backs him in the race because of his legislative record and pro-life stance.
Both men face off in the Republican primary on May 25. The man who prevails will face Congressman Walt Minnick, a Democrat, for the 1st Congressional District seat.