Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele and Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko say they stand behind state Rep. Raul Labrador of Eagle, the winner of the GOP primary for the 1st Congressional District on Tuesday. Labrador beat Vaughn Ward, who had the backing of the National Republican Congressional Committee and received endorsements and campaign contributions from Republicans in Idaho and across the country.
Ward amassed a large fundraising lead over Labrador, but Semanko said Republicans across the country will contribute to Labrador's campaign against Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick. "They will do everything they can to rally behind our candidate for Congress, Raul Labrador, as well as the rest of our ticket, top to bottom," Semanko said about the RNC in a message on the state GOP's website. Semanko also posted a statement from Steele saying that the RNC will help Labrador, Rep. Mike Simpson, Sen. Mike Crapo, and Gov. Butch Otter in their re-election efforts this November.
Before the primary election, Minnick held a large fundraising lead over Labrador. Minnick had $935,000 in cash on hand as of May 5 while Labrador had $35,000, according to reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Both Minnick and Ward also received large amounts of funding from people living outside Idaho. The website OpenSecrets.org published charts showing that most of the money Minnick and Ward received in individual contributions came from other parts of the country, with both raising tens of thousands in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Read Semanko and Steele's statements below:
Dear Fellow Idaho Republican,
The liberal media is wasting no time. Already, they are trying to create the impression that Raul Labrador may not have the support of Republicans at the national level. But we know better.
I contacted RNC Chairman Michael Steele this morning. As a former State and County Republican Chairman, he fully understands the importance of supporting our efforts at the State and local levels. By his quick response, it is obvious that they will do everything they can to rally behind our candidate for Congress, Raul Labrador, as well as the rest of our ticket, top to bottom. See Chairman Steele's message below.
Victory in 2010!
Norm Semanko, Chairman
Idaho Republican Party
STATEMENT FROM RNC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL STEELE ON THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY IN IDAHO
WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele released the following statement today:
“I would like to congratulate Governor Butch Otter, Senator Mike Crapo, Representative Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador on winning the Republican nomination for their respective races. These candidates are focused on creating jobs for the State of Idaho and stand for the conservative principles of lower taxes, less spending and a strong limited government. The Republican Party will work to ensure these four candidates have the resources necessary so we can stop the Democratic liberal agenda from intruding into the daily lives of Idahoans.”