After their highly publicized dustup over whether Rep. Raul Labrador was disloyal and compromised his effectiveness by refusing to vote for the leader of his party and Rep. Mike Simpson's pal, Speaker John Boehner, Idaho's only House members have met face-to-face.
"I have talked to him," Labrador told me Thursday night after his town meeting on immigration at Meridian City Hall.
Did you mend fences? I asked.
"I don't talk about private discussions," replied a chilly Labrador, keeping the lid on his simmer.
Simpson, meanwhile, was the only member of the four-man, all-GOP delegation to duck an interview on a story I'm working on for Monday about the prospects for immigration reform.
My guess: After Simpson's blowup in the face of counsel to the contrary, he doesn't want to risk saying anything that might be seen as a knock on Labrador, whose expertise is immigration. Despite his snub of Boehner, Labrador got the Judiciary Committee assignments he sought, where he can play the delegation's most significant role on immigration.
Simpson's spokeswoman, Nikki Watts, didn't even reply to my five written questions. Instead, she provided a wait-and-see-what-the-legislation-brings answer and a tip of the hat to Labrador. "He is anxious to see what Congressman Labrador and his other colleagues put together so he can evaluate it," Watts said of the boss.
Simpson also may not wish to add fuel to the tea party fire that burns bright for Labrador, as evidenced by the standing ovation he received as he walked into the room Thursday night. Simpson remains aligned with the GOP's Main Street wing, which includes Gov. Butch Otter.
Labrador just might have the huevos to challenge Gov. Caballero for re-election in 2014, or run in his absence.
Perhaps Simpson and the GOP establishment have decided raising the insurgent Labrador's profile by calling him out was a misstep.
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