As Labrador Enters Governor’s Race, His House Seat Becomes Hot Ticket Item

May 11, 2017

Update 10:34 a.m. Thursday: Former Republican Lt. Governor David Leroy has filed paperwork to run for Labrador's seat. He is the first candidate to enter the race.

Earlier this week Republican Rep. Raul Labrador filed paperwork to run for Idaho governor, ending a long period of speculation about whether he would jump into the race. Now, political wonks are turning their attention to who might seek his congressional seat. 

Boise State political science professor Jaclyn Kettler was not surprised to hear Congressman Labrador had decided to run for governor in 2018.

“Most of us knew," says Kettler, or guessed it was coming at some point in time.”

Kettler says being the top executive of the state would be an attractive thing – especially after being just one member among more than 500 in Congress.

The follow-up question is, if Labrador vacates his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, then who would fight to claim that spot? Kettler says the primary for the 1st Congressional District is likely to be competitive for the GOP.

“In a one-party state you do have this kind of clogging of the pipeline. You don’t have people moving on to where people with progressive ambitions don’t have a higher seat to run for.”

According to the Idaho Statesman, some familiar political names have already been floated to file papers for Labrador's seat.

Kettler says on the Democratic side the field is much thinner for both the gubernatorial and congressional races. She says we’re likely to see candidates who have run and lost in the past try again.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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