15 Months Before The General Election, Idaho Politics Making Headlines

Jul 25, 2013

Much has been made lately of the future of Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador, seen here discussing immigration with protestors at his Meridian office in June.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Normally a slow news season when it comes to politics, Idaho's headlines in recent days have been rife with political developments. Republican Congressmen Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson, as well as their opponents, have been in the news.  Many of the stories speculate what's next for Rep. Labrador, a re-election bid or a run for governor.

Longtime Idaho political observer and Boise State emeritus professor Jim Weatherby says all the recent stories about Labrador have been surprising.

"I am amazed at all of this speculation for an individual who has been on the scene in Congress for just about three years," Weatherby says. "A politician loves speculation about what their next move is going to be. I suspect on many fronts Mr. Labrador is enjoying this. The worst thing you can do to a politician is ignore him or her. Obviously, Raul Labrador is not being ignored at the state or national level."

Weatherby says Labrador would likely win the Republican nomination for his congressional seat. That's despite a 23-year-old Boise State student saying he'll run against Labrador in the May 2014 primary. Much more intriguing, Weatherby says, would be a  gubernatorial matchup between the Rep. Labrador and Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

"A race between Labrador and Otter would be a very hotly contested one," Weatherby says. "At this point I would not predict the outcome.  Labrador is certainly a darling of the hard right in Idaho and would have quite a lot of support, I would think."

Weatherby says he's enjoying the rare summer attention on politics.  Idaho's 2014 primaries are still 10 months away, and the general election is 15 months away.

"Isn't it great?," Weatherby asks of the recent spate of news. "I relish the fact that there is some interest.  Often Idaho politics is pretty boring in a one party state where the dominant party often wins."