Labrador to hit road to announce bid for governor

The announcement itself isn’t news, but Rep. Raul Labrador will travel the state this week to make his run for governor official.

Rep. Raul Labrador

The 1st District congressman will hold campaign kickoff events in Boise Tuesday, in Post Falls on Wednesday and in Idaho Falls on Thursday.

The Idaho Falls kickoff will be held at Melaleuca headquarters. Frank VanderSloot, CEO of the personal products company, is one of Idaho’s deep-pocket political donors. However, Melaleuca spokesman Tony Lima told Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review that his boss has made no endorsement in the governor’s race.

Nonetheless, support from big-money donors could take on added significance in this open GOP primary. Labrador entered the race three weeks ago at a fundraising disadvantage. Lt. Gov. Brad Little raised $393,000 in 2016, and former state Sen. Russell Fulcher raised $51,000. Boise developer and physician Tommy Ahlquist has pledged to run a big-money campaign.

The Labrador tour comes as the governor’s race heats up on other fronts.

On Wednesday, Little announced a slate of 44 county campaign coordinators — a list including Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, retiring Twin Falls schools superintendent Wiley Dobbs, and several former legislators. Alhquist unveiled a new campaign ad Wednesday. Labrador Thursday announced that Roger and Gayle Batt of Wilder would serve as his campaign co-chairs; Gayle Batt served six years in the Legislature.

The four Republicans are vying to succeed the retiring Gov. Butch Otter.

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