Russ Fulcher Wins GOP Primary for Raúl Labrador’s Idaho House Seat

Labrador opted to run for governor, but lost Republican primary Tuesday

Idaho Republican Russ Fulcher was endorsed by GOP incumbent Raúl R. Labrador in his bid to replace him in the 1st District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former state Sen. Russ Fulcher won the Republican primary Tuesday night for Idaho’s 1st District, a seat Rep. Raúl R. Labrador vacated to run for governor. 

With 69 percent of precincts reporting, Fulcher had 43 percent of the vote, The Associated Press reported, compared to 17 percent for his nearest rival, Dave Leroy, a former lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Fulcher, who had Labrador’s endorsement, had originally launched a gubernatorial bid. But he shifted to the House race after Labrador decided to run for governor himself. The congressman ended up finishing second in the GOP primary Tuesday night, behind Lt. Gov. Brad Little. 

First appointed to the state Senate in 2005, Fulcher served in the chamber until 2014, when he ran unsuccessfully for governor. He represented parts of the 1st District as a state legislator. Prior to joining the state Senate, he had worked as a businessman in Idaho’s burgeoning technology industry. 

Fulcher said in a February interview that he has a collaborative style, stemming from his time in the state Legislature. He said he saw some commonality with the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus, which Labrador helped found. 

With his victory, Fulcher is in a strong position to win the ruby-red seat in November. President Donald Trump carried the 1st District by 38 points in 2016. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Republican.  

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