First District freshman Republican Congressman Raul Labrador officially launched his reelection bid flanked by top party leaders including Gov. Butch Otter and about 40 GOP lawmakers Monday at the Statehouse.
After spending just four years in the Idaho House, Labrador won upsets in both the primary and general elections in 2010 and quickly became a popular figure among media outlets seeking comment from the GOP's tea party wing.
Labrador told about 300 people at his rally that he'd fulfilled his promises to cut spending, improve the economy, advance domestic energy production, fight federal expansionism and regulations and oppose abortion.
"I voted to reduce spending not just by a little bit, but by a lot, back to 2008 levels," Labrador said.
His biggest applause line was when he reminded the crowd he was the first member of Congress to call for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder.
He closed his 9-minute speech with this, "Finally, I promised to not allow Washington to change me and Washington has not changed me," Labrador said. "I have kept my promises to you."
Democrat Jimmy Farris, a former NFL receiver who grew up in Lewiston and lives in Meridian, is the only other candidate in the race.
Not everyone in the crowd was there on behalf of Labrador.
A handful of members of Occupy Boise carried a 12-foot banner to the front of the crowd as Labrador spoke.
At the side, about 10 protesters from the "Add The Words" gay-rights campaign carried signs critical of Senate GOP Caucus Chairman John McGee. On Friday, McGee spoke on behalf of Republicans who defeated an attempt to introduce a bill adding sexual orientation and gender identification to the Idaho Human Rights Act.