We just finished reading Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman article “2018 campaign for governor starts now” and tried to figure out why his first comments were about Congressman Labrador. The Congressman is not even a declared candidate for governor so why would you put him in a poll with the declared candidates?
The IFF did a poll on gubernatorial candidate support February 6-8 we presume it was 2017. In that poll of 400 likely Republican voters, the support broke down as follows
Raul Labrador 39% | Brad Little 27% | Russ Fulcher 7% | Tom Ahlquist 2%
What was interesting is that in a poll that the Gem State Patriot ran in August of last year the results were a quite different. Tom Ahlquist was not a contender at that time. Neither was Labrador but he was seriously considering entering the race.
Raul Labrador 16% | Brad Little 20% | Russ Fulcher 64%
Those are some rather disturbing differences except for Brad Little and maybe because our poll did not just look at likely republican voters or we have a more conservative readership then the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Our question is why the huge discrepancy between Fulcher and Labrador if they are both conservative. We liken it to the 2016 presidential race and would have to say that Russ Fulcher is more like a Ted Cruz and Labrador is more like a Rand Paul and Brad Little is another Butch Otter as far as the constituency they attract as voters.
There has been a lot of pressure from some prominent people over the past six months to get Labrador out in the forefront. Even we have been approached on the subject but had no reason to change our opinion from the 2014 primary that Fulcher was the most qualified to fill the Governor’s seat. Let’s look at the candidates objectively and break things down a bit as far as qualifications go.
Looking at the Candidates Objectively and their Qualifications
Congressman Labrador before entering politics he was an attorney dealing with immigration and criminal justice reform. He served for two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives before being elected as our congressional representative for the 1st congressional district in 2010. He was instrumental in forming the House of Representatives Freedom Caucus. He has had a rather hot and cold run in congress in terms of his voting and was sharply criticized by many of his constituents for his vote to elect John Boehner House Speaker not once but twice. For the most part Labrador has been relatively conservative in his voting and Idaho voters gave him another term apparently forgiving him for the Boehner vote although some were not real happy with his vote for Paul Ryan as speaker. What troubles us is that Labrador does not have the necessary skills to be the Governor of our state since he has little or no business experience and as we all know being governor in a state like Idaho is all about the economy and understanding how it works. This is not a position where you learn on the job. We just don’t think the Congressman has the credentials to fill the bill. We believe Congressman Labrador would be difficult to replace as our representative as he has been working diligently with the conservative coalition to get a good healthcare bill for our country and get the middle income some real tax relief. His five years of experience give him a voice for Idahoan’s and we believe that he may have an opportunity to chair or co-chair one or more of the important committees in the house.
Brad Little spent his early career working in his family’s ranching interests while also engaging in a political career. During the 1981-1985 legislative sessions, Brad represented his father David Little in the senate on a temporary appointment due to illness. He also managed Little Land and Livestock the family business for almost thirty years until his son, David, became manager in 2009. Brad was appointed by Governor Kempthorne to fill a State Senate vacancy in May 2001 to represent at that time district 8 and was elected in 2002 to the Senate in District 11 and reelected to the senate four more times. So much for term limits. He was appointed Lt. Governor in 2009 by Butch Otter to succeed Jim Risch.
While Brad has a background in ranching he would probably have a good handle on the agricultural and ranching aspects of running our state but we are doubtful about the business acumen and ability to help Idaho grow economically with better-paying jobs and getting more corporations to settle in our state without tax incentives. Our other concern is that he has been Butch Otters yes man since 2009 and we can’t remember once where he challenged or went against the governor’s wishes. He is also the former chairman of (IACI) the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry which is the most powerful lobbyists group in Idaho. He was not only a member of that board for 20 years but also served as chairman. We all well know those ties are very difficult to break as we have had a lot of experience in following the money. We don’t know about you but someone who has been so cozy with this powerful lobbyists group for such a long time is not likely to be looking out for the taxpayers but instead for his lobbyist buddies. We like to refer to Brad as Butch Lite.
Tom Ahlquist has an even more interesting background, employed as an emergency room doctor for 18 years and claims to have been both a doctor and developer for the past 10 years. We’re not sure how you divide your time as an emergency room doctor and a huge developer. We would guess you could call it managing a Building Operation the bigger question is how do you do both at the same time? We must also make note that Mr. Ahlquist has an affinity for doing Urban Renewal Developments using taxpayer money for developing the infrastructure of his projects. I’m not sure you can count someone who uses taxpayer money to finance his projects as a conservative candidate. Come to think of it where was the voice of Mr. Ahlquist as a Doctor when the debate about the state healthcare exchange was going on. Was he a doctor or a developer at that time? If he is running for governor where does he stand on the issue? There is also the question of substantial contributions Mr. Ahlquist made to Democratic candidate A.J. Balukoff’s campaign in the 2014 gubernatorial election. Maybe Mr. Ahlquist is a part time republican and part time Democrat kind of like being a part time doctor and builder at the same time.
We have to admit that Mr. Ahlquist is off to a running start with the amazing amount of flyers he has sent out thus far to every man women and child in Idaho but then, after all, he has made a small fortune being a developer using our money for his urban renewal projects. Maybe it’s time that this candidate started to answer some of these questions at a forum instead of sending out flyers with pretty pictures of his family. We smell cronyism and we sure don’t want another crony governor in office as 12 years of Otter is enough for any state. We believe that Tommy boy is way too involved in politics with the many boards he has been engaged in over the years and still sits on. There are just too many unanswered questions about Mr. Ahlquist for us to consider him a qualified conservative candidate for governor of Idaho.
Finally, let’s talk about Russ Fulcher the man we consider to be the most conservative candidate and the one who in our opinion has the best resume to be Governor. Russ is a fourth generation Idahoan who grew up on a dairy farm in Meridian. He graduated from Meridian High School and earned both his Bachelor’s and Masters’ degrees in business from Boise State University. He spent 24 years in the technology sector, including a long stint at Micron Technology where he obtained certifications and experience in electronic engineering and sold products in 26 countries and the U.S.
He served in as a Senator in the Idaho legislature for 10 years and was Republican caucus leader for six of those years. While serving in the senate he worked as a commercial realtor. Russ was the one who introduced and was primarily responsible for passing the Grocery Tax Credit in 2009 saving Idaho’s families over $600 million. Russ served on the Senate State Affairs & Education committees fighting tirelessly to protect our individual rights and limit government influence while easing our tax burden.
Russ also fought against Idaho’s health exchange in 2013 that made Idaho a partner to the federal government with the implementation of Obamacare. Fulcher has been a staunch supporter of the Idaho Healthcare Freedom Act, opposing excessive federal intrusion into Idaho’s healthcare and health insurance markets. In 2014 Russ ran in the primary against Governor Otter and received 43.59% to Otters 51.36% while 5% was split between two other candidates. Fulcher also won the 3 most populated counties in the state and he only campaigned for 5 months before the primary.
There is nothing fancy about Russ Fulcher but when it comes to business he knows what he is talking about. We don’t need a Lawyer, a Sheep Rancher or for that matter part time Doctor/Developer. What Idaho needs is a person who understands how to do business by keeping taxes low regulation lower and creating an economic atmosphere conducive to luring large technology and manufacturing companies to Idaho without giving away our tax money as an incentive for them to move here. We need someone who understands what it means to be conservative and when to say no to the federal government. It’s time to drain the swamp and we feel Russ Fulcher is the man to do just that.