In report released earlier this week by IdahoReporter.com, Democratic Party officials said that Vaughn Ward, the man running as a Republican to unseat Walt Minnick, a Democrat, in November's general election, worked as an intern for another Democrat during his college days. Ward, in a post-debate interview with IdahoReporter.com, downplayed the internship, saying that he and a friend had to complete an assignment on the Idaho Legislature, which led to the ties to Democrat Jim Hansen. He also denied having worked for former Virginia governor, and Democrat, Tim Kaine.
Ward said that the assignment given to him by a professor in college more than 20 years ago should hardly be counted as an internship. "All I cared about was getting that paper written then going and hanging out with my buddies on the weekend," said Ward. He said that Hansen, in either 1989 or 1990, gave him some work to do over a weekend to aid Ward in his process of learning about the Legislature. "That hardly qualifies to say that I interned for a Democrat," he added.
On the allegations that he worked for the Kaine campaign in 2005, Ward said that those claims are the product of Democrats trying to smear his image. "Where's your proof? Let me see it," chided Ward. He said that the basic functions of campaigns are to get as many names on lists to find supporters and organize drives to get voters out to the polls. "Everything you do in a campaign is generating lists of people to try and drive the vote out." He said Democrats are very concerned with the status of his campaign and are doing everything within their power to beat him.
After finishing Tuesday’s televised debate with state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, the other man vying for the right to face Minnick in November, Ward shared some of his thoughts on immigration, education, and the status of his campaign. A newly released poll has Ward up by 18 points over his opponent with two weeks to go until the May 25 primary election. Ward said that he doesn't much care for polls or their data and that he will continue to campaign with increased intensity during the next 14 days. "I heard this great saying, 'once you think you've got it licked, you're licked,'" he said. Ward promised to continue working to spread his message and talk to Idahoans about issues important to them.
On education, Ward, who shares this viewpoint with his opponent, said the U.S. Department of Education must be cut in order to provide a better education for America's students. He claimed the department is bloated and that the job of educating children is not the duty of the federal government. "Education is a states' rights issue." He said that the department only offers services that are redundant of jobs already performed on the state and local levels.
Immigration, despite high unemployment, two wars in progress, and a ballooning national debt, has become the hot-button issue in the race between Ward and Labrador. Ward told IdahoReporter.com Tuesday though he does not favor building a fence along the entire U.S. border with Mexico - he sees it as impractical - he is in favor of using several tactical tools to deter immigration. Labrador has called for President Barack Obama to send National Guard troops to the border, but Ward believes that to be down the road in the border security fight. During the debate, Ward said that the country should first secure the border with the current resources and then enforce immigration laws as currently written. If that approach doesn't work, Ward is open to sending troops to the border.