The Idaho GOP primary is about one year away, but Rep. Raúl R. Labrador has already chosen who he wants to succeed him in the House.
Labrador announced Thursday that he is backing former state Sen. Russ Fulcher in the primary to replace Labrador, who is running for governor. Fulcher had also announced a gubernatorial bid, but dropped out of the race Thursday to run for Congress instead.
“Having [Fulcher] serve in Washington D.C. would give me great confidence that the fight for liberty will continue,” Labrador said in a statement. “I am convinced that this is the best move for Republican party unity and also the best move to change the direction of our state and country.”
Fulcher also said in a joint press release with Labrador that he and the congressman have teamed up on issues.
“Raúl and I have worked together for a long time to promote Idaho families and encourage government to act within its proper Constitutional role,” Fulcher said. “We recognize the best way to serve the citizens of Idaho is to work together in complementary roles.”
Both Labrador and Fulcher served in the Idaho state legislature — Labrador in the House while Fulcher was in the Senate. On Thursday, Labrador sent an email to his supporters with the subject line, “Join us and unite the conservative base,” announcing he fully supported Fulcher’s congressional bid.
Labrador, a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was first elected to Congress in 2010.
The 1st District spans the western half of the state is solidly Republican, according to Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. President Donald Trump won the district by nearly 40 points in 2016, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections.
Fulcher joins David LeRoy in the GOP primary race for Labrador’s seat, though other state lawmakers could jump in the race as well. LeRoy served as the Gem State’s attorney general and lieutenant governor.
Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.