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Raúl Labrador launches attorney general campaign, appoints treasurer

Former Congressman Raúl Labrador announced he will enter the 2022 race for Idaho Attorney General (Courtesy of the Labrador campaign).
Former Congressman Raúl Labrador announced he will enter the 2022 race for Idaho Attorney General (Courtesy of the Labrador campaign).

Labrador, a Republican, is a former member of Congress and serves on the Central District Health board

Former U.S. Rep. Raúl Labrador announced he is running for Idaho attorney general as a Republican and appointed a political treasurer Wednesday afternoon.

Other candidates who have appointed a political treasurer include GOP incumbent Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, as well as other Republicans Art Macomber and Dennis Boyles.

Labrador said in a news release that he will fight against federal mandates.

“I will also be a true partner with conservative lawmakers in the Legislature as they work to draft and write good laws that will stand up against the gamesmanship of activist judges,” Labrador said in the release. “It is critical that we have a new attorney general who can work with the Legislature to craft legislation to withstand judicial tests and protect Idaho’s sovereignty.”

The release said Labrador would also maintain law and order in Idaho communities, protect religious freedom, ensure election integrity and help parents direct their child’s education without fear of federal retaliation.

Although several candidates have filed campaign paperwork appointing a treasurer or have announced they are running for office, candidates cannot officially declare for office until late February 2022. The primary election will take place in May.

Incumbent Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has not formally announced his election plans for 2022 yet. Wasden is Idaho’s longest-serving attorney general, first winning election in 2002.

Raúl Labrador’s political background

Labrador is an attorney by trade and a registered lobbyist. He served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Idaho’s First Congressional District. Born in Puerto Rico, he was the first Hispanic member of Idaho’s congressional delegation.

A conservative Republican, Labrador was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus.

His legislative and political activities made headlines throughout his tenure in Congress.

He worked on immigration reform issues, playing what the Washington Post in 2013 called a “middleman” role in immigration talks. “This is what I came to Congress to work on, is to modernize and fix the broken immigration system,” he said in 2017 while running for governor.

In 2015, Labrador co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill designed protect people from action they take based upon their belief that marriage is “the union of one man and one woman or sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” The bill never advanced, and the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage.

While serving in Congress in 2017, Labrador told a large, outspoken crowd at a Meridian town hall meeting, “I do not believe health care is a basic human right,” the Associated Press reported.“I just don’t think it’s a right to have health care.”

At the town hall meeting, Labrador was defending his stances on health care, abortion and his hesistancy to investigate then President Donald Trump, according to the AP’s report.

Labrador did not seek re-election to Congress in 2018. Instead, he launched an unsuccessful campaign for governor, finishing second to Gov. Brad Little.

After he left Congress, Labrador was elected chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, a position he held from 2019 to 2020.

Labrador is not currently an elected official and does not have medical experience, but he was appointed to the Central District Health Board of Health in January in a move pushed by Ada County Commissioners Rod Beck and Ryan Davidson.

Labrador is a lobbyist representing the National Coalition for Public School Options, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Independent Doctors of Idaho and Treasure Valley Hospital. Records show he has lobbied the legislative and executive branches of Idaho government on several issues, including health care, education, environment and natural resources issues, and tribal issues.

Prior to serving in Congress, Labrador served two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives, representing District 14, which includes Eagle and Star in western Ada County.

Labrador and his wife, Rebecca, live in Eagle and have five children. Labrador received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and his law degree from the University of Washington.

The official filing period does not open until February, about 12 weeks before the May 17 primary elections. The winner of the primary election advances to the November 2022 general election. The attorney general serves a four-year term.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state.