Two Republicans competing in Tuesday’s primary election for the 1st Congressional District each added endorsements over the weekend. Vaughn Ward received formal support from former Sen. Steve Symms. His opponent, state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, earned praise from Meg Chenoweth Keenan, the daughter of Helen Chenoweth-Hage, who held the seat in Congress in the 1990s.
“I trust Vaughn Ward to carry the conservative banner to cut spending and protect our nation,” Symms said in a news release on Ward’s website. “As a small businessman and former Marine Corps Officer, I know Vaughn Ward is exactly the kind of man we need representing Idaho in Congress.” Symms served in the Senate from 1981 to 1993 after spending eight years in the U.S. House and now works as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Last July, Symms made a $1,000 contribution to Democrat Walt Minnick, who will face the winner of the Republican primary in the November election. Symms has not reported a contribution to Ward with the Federal Election Commission.
Ward said on his website that he hopes to follow in Symms’ footsteps in Congress. “I too hope to go back to Congress and take a bite out of government spending," he said.
Keenan said she’s endorsing Labrador because he is authentic, understands government, and has always kept his word. In her endorsement, she said that Ward and Labrador are close on many political issues. “As important as the particular issues are, they are still trumped by the ability of voters to know that they are dealing with the Congressman and not a political machine,” Keenan said. She also praised Labrador’s efforts in the Idaho Legislature opposing federal health care legislation.
Chenoweth-Hage, who served in Congress from 1995-2001, died in an automobile collision in 2006 in Nevada. Labrador caller her a hero. “She was the epitome of a Reagan conservative,” he said. Labrador also added $10,000 to his election campaign on Thursday, according to FEC reports. He’s already personally loaned his campaign $50,000.