Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Rep. Raúl Labrador (R)

Idaho District 1

N/A

Biography

Elected: 2010, 2nd term.

Born: December 8, 1967, Carolina, PR

Home: Eagle

Education: Brigham Young U., B.A. 1992; U. of WA, J.D. 1995.

Professional Career: Law clerk, U.S. Atty., WA St., 1994; practicing atty., 1994-96; law clerk, U.S. District Court, District of ID, 1996-98; practicing atty., 1998-2010.

Ethnicity: Hispanic/Latino

Religion: Mormon

Family: Married (Rebecca) , 5 children

Republican Raúl Labrador, elected in the GOP tidal wave of 2010, is the first Hispanic from Idaho in Congress. He has been among the young conservatives disaffected with the House GOP leadership, and reportedly played a key role in an abortive attempt to unseat John Boehner as speaker in January 2013. He made a futile bid to challenge Rep. Kevin McCarthy for majority leader in June 2014.

Labrador was born in Puerto Rico and raised by his mother, Ana Pastor, who was unmarried. His father, who was married and had five other children, saw Raúl once a year on his birthday, according to The Idaho Statesman. Pastor, a sales representative for the Mars candy company in Puerto Rico, moved to Las Vegas for a new start when Raúl was a young teenager, taking a job as a change girl in a casino. She joined the city’s Mormon Church, which provided help during lean times. A church official became a surrogate father for Labrador, helping pay his way to Brigham Young University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and philosophy. He went on to get a law degree from the University of Washington. With the exception of a couple of stints as a law clerk for government offices, Labrador spent his career in private practice. Before he came to Washington, he was the managing partner of Labrador Law Offices in Nampa, Idaho, which specializes in immigration law.

Labrador stepped into the political arena in 2006 when he won a seat in the state House. He quickly made a name for himself as a steadfast conservative, standing up to GOP Gov. Butch Otter on his plan to raise fuel taxes to pay for new roads. Labrador also had a hand in legislation to restore gun rights to those deemed mentally defective by the courts and to exempt Idaho from the federal health care law.

He got into the contest for the Republican nomination to challenge conservative Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick after Ken Roberts, the Republican caucus chairman in the Idaho House, withdrew for health reasons. In the 2010 primary, Labrador lagged behind Marine Maj. Vaughn Ward, a decorated Iraq war veteran, who had a 3-to-1 fundraising advantage and the backing of the state and national party establishment. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also came to Boise to boost Ward, who had been the Nevada director for John McCain and Palin in the 2008 presidential contest. But Ward made a series of gaffes that left him vulnerable, including violating Pentagon rules prohibiting the use of military uniforms in campaign ads, and failing to disclose his wife’s financial assets. Labrador beat Ward in the May primary, 47.6% to 39%.

In his fall campaign against the Democratic incumbent, Labrador made an issue of Minnick’s vote to elect California liberal Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House in 2009. He called for large cuts in federal spending and repeal of the Democratic health care law. Minnick, with $2.5 million in the bank and a 5-to-1 money edge, let loose a barrage of attacks, including one that showed a former U.S. marshal criticizing Labrador for running a website that “offers advice to illegal immigrants seeking amnesty.” Labrador responded that he in fact advises illegal immigrants to return to their home countries and reapply for admission to the United States through proper channels. The attack ads were not enough to save Minnick, who had been elected just two years earlier with 51% of the vote. Labrador defeated Minnick, 51% to 41%.

In the House, Labrador made clear his desire to have his freshman class put its stamp on Washington. “Why don’t we pass the most conservative piece of legislation we can in the House?” he asked at a 2012 news conference. “Instead, we are always passing legislation we know was tacitly approved by (Democratic Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid.”

He and 46 other freshmen in February 2011 helped reject a controversial second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that was being made at a plant in Boehner’s district. During negotiations over raising the federal debt limit a few months later, Labrador said he would support an increase as long as Congress passed a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. His stance led Boehner to add a planned balanced budget vote to the deal, which passed the House without Labrador’s vote; he didn’t think that it cut spending by enough. He became part of a bipartisan group of House members that quietly met in 2012 and 2013 to try to hammer out an immigration reform proposal.

Labrador joined the call for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation over the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-tracing program. Upset with the news media’s portrayal of him and other tea party freshmen, Labrador organized a group called “Conversations with Conservatives” that featured panels of lawmakers taking questions. He raised eyebrows in Idaho in June 2012 when he supported California Republican Tom McClintock’s failed amendment to a spending bill to cut funding for the Energy Department’s Office of Nuclear Energy, a key funding source for Idaho National Laboratory.

Labrador had an easy path to reelection in 2012, taking 63% of the vote against Democrat Jimmy Farris, a former NFL wide receiver, Idaho native and political novice. After the election, he received an assignment to the Judiciary Committee in recognition of his experience with immigration. But according to news accounts, he was among unhappy Republicans looking to replace Boehner who decided to join forces. Their effort stalled when the lawmakers determined they could not get the 25 GOP votes they wanted. When the time came to elect a speaker, he and South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney, another reported ringleader, declined to cast votes. He later complained to The New Yorker that more senior House members “want our numbers, but they don’t want our input, and they don’t want our opinions.”

Labrador considered running for Idaho governor in 2014, and told the Statesman in January 2013 it would hinge in part on the fate of immigration reform. “Whether we can get something done or not is going to be instrumental in helping me make my decision,” he said. But he eventually decided against challenging incumbent Republican Butch Otter, telling an August news conference: "I do not feel that I have yet completed the mission you sent me to Congress to do."

In the subsequent battle over the budget that led to the October government shutdown, he expressed rare satisfaction with Boehner's handling of the issue. But by April 2014, he was back to attacking the speaker, issuing a statement declaring he was "disappointed" when Boehner criticized his colleagues for dragging their feet on pursuing immigration reform. Labrador worked with a bipartisan group of lawmakers that sought to craft a deal on immigration, but abandoned the effort amid disagreements about legalizing undocumented immigrants.

When Majority Leader Eric Cantor unexpectedly lost his June primary, forcing a leadership scramble, Labrador entered the race less than a week before the vote on a new leader, despite the fact that McCarthy, the majority whip, appeared to have sewn up the support of many Republicans. "What we’ve had is kind of a top-down approach where you talk to members of Congress and they feel like they’re totally irrelevant,” Labrador told Fox News. He lost to McCarthy, and returned his focus to criticizing Obama on immigration.

 

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-6611

(202) 225-3029

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1523
Washington, DC 20515-1201

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-6611

(202) 225-3029

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1523
Washington, DC 20515-1201

DISTRICT OFFICE

(208) 888-3188

(208) 888-0894

33 East Broadway Avenue Suite 251
Meridian, ID 83642-2619

DISTRICT OFFICE

(208) 888-3188

(208) 888-0894

33 East Broadway Avenue Suite 251
Meridian, ID 83642-2619

DISTRICT OFFICE

(208) 667-0127

(208) 667-0310

1250 Ironwood Drive Room 243
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

DISTRICT OFFICE

(208) 667-0127

(208) 667-0310

1250 Ironwood Drive Room 243
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

DISTRICT OFFICE

(208) 743-1388

(202) 888-0894

313 D Street Suite 107
Lewiston, ID 83501-1820

DISTRICT OFFICE

(208) 743-1388

(202) 888-0894

313 D Street Suite 107
Lewiston, ID 83501-1820

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(208) 938-2500

(208) 938-2511

1846 West Rush Road
Eagle, ID 83616-3636

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

1846 West Rush Road
Eagle, ID 83616-3636

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Aerospace

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Agriculture

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Appropriations

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Budget

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Commerce

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Crime

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Disaster

Joseph Edlow
Chief Legal Counsel

Education

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Energy

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Environment

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Finance

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Govt Ops

Patrick O'Grady
Legislative Correspondent

Health

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Homeland Security

Joseph Edlow
Chief Legal Counsel

Housing

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Joseph Edlow
Chief Legal Counsel

Judiciary

Joseph Edlow
Chief Legal Counsel

Labor

Patrick O'Grady
Legislative Correspondent

Medicare

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Military

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Religion

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Science

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Tax

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Technology

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Trade

Joseph Edlow
Chief Legal Counsel

Transportation

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Bekah DeMordaunt
Senior Legislative Assistant

Aaron Calkins
Legislative Director

Welfare

Patrick O'Grady
Legislative Correspondent

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Raúl Labrador
Votes: 199,402
Percent: 62.96%
Jimmy Faris
Votes: 97,450
Percent: 30.77%
2012 PRIMARY
Raúl Labrador
Votes: 58,003
Percent: 80.65%
Reed McCandless
Votes: 13,917
Percent: 19.35%
2010 GENERAL
Raúl Labrador
Votes: 126,231
Percent: 51.02%
Walt Minnick
Votes: 102,135
Percent: 41.28%
Dave Olson
Votes: 14,365
Percent: 5.81%
2010 PRIMARY
Raúl Labrador
Votes: 38,711
Percent: 47.62%
Vaughn Ward
Votes: 31,582
Percent: 38.85%
Michael Chadwick
Votes: 5,356
Percent: 6.59%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (51%)

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