A day after his win in a congressional election, Raul Labrador said Idaho voters shrugged off negative, personal attacks aimed at his campaign. He also said that the new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives needs to take on a similar positive approach.
“We have been rented the House for two years, and it's up to us now to earn it,” Labrador said, adding the Republicans have good ideas for how to govern. While Republicans control the House, Democrats held onto a majority in the U.S. Senate, and President Barack Obama can veto plans that come out of Congress.
“For too long, and too many times, the Republican Party becomes 'the party of no,'” Labrador said. “We have to be much more than that. We have to be a party of solutions.” He said that if the GOP doesn't provide solutions or leadership, it could be replaced by voters in two years.
Labrador said he supports current House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, who could become the next speaker of the House. Labrador received campaign contributions from political action committees connected to Boehner, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., and other prominent House Republicans.
Labrador also reiterated his disappointment in the ads from his Democratic opponent, Rep. Walt Minnick, criticizing his work as an immigration attorney. “I didn't expect the campaign to be that negative,” he said. Labrador felt voters didn't approve of Minnick's ads, which contributed to his victory Tuesday. “Clearly people were disgusted with his behavior and voted for me, but I can't tell you if it would have been a bigger victory or a smaller victory if he hadn't done that.”
Minnick's campaign declined to talk to IdahoReporter.com after he conceded to Labrador early Wednesday morning. Before all the votes were counted Tuesday night, he characterized the race as a spirited campaign and wouldn't comment on whether his commercials hurt his re-election chances, because the campaign was over, and he wanted to focus on the nation's problems.
In a statement released by the campaign Wednesday, Minnick said he hopes Labrador succeeds in his efforts to lower the national debt and put people back to work.
Labrador said another positive message coming out of his win could be a better opinion of Idaho nationwide for electing a Latino-American to Congress. “People have such a bad connotation of what Idaho represents,” he said. “I can't think of a better message that Idaho can send than to send a young man who was born in Puerto Rico, raised in Las Vegas, and adopted in this state (to Congress).”
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