BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador on Monday said he will fight to defend Idaho’s right to define marriage, cut off federal funding to health clinics that provide abortions and support stronger gun rights if elected governor.
Labrador’s latest campaign promises were unveiled as part of the Republican’s plan to promote traditional families and protect constitutional rights.
“There is nothing more important than defending the life of the pre-born, standing firm in defense of traditional families, and protecting our constitutional rights,” Labrador, a Republican, said in a statement. “I’ve championed these conservative causes my whole life.”
Labrador’s plan includes supporting stand-your-ground policies that extend protections for people who use their guns to defend themselves when they feel threatened, a pledge to repeal Idaho’s mandatory minimum prison and jail sentencing requirements and opposition to legislation he said would put Idahoans at risk of civil action for exercising their religious beliefs.
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Labrador also said he supports blocking low-income patients from using Medicaid for any health care service provided by Planned Parenthood — services such as HPV vaccinations and vaginal exams.
However, Labrador’s plan does not address the legal challenges he might face in making that promise. Federal courts have blocked attempts to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Indiana, Louisiana and Utah.
Labrador is running against top Republicans Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist and Lt. Gov. Brad Little in the upcoming May primary election.
Labrador particularly criticized Ahlquist for previously removing language from his campaign website promising to fight to protect Idaho’s right to define marriage
Last summer, Ahlquist was the only gubernatorial candidate whose website included a resolution to protect the “sanctity of marriage.”
After receiving questions from reporters on how he planned on defending the Idaho Constitution’s unenforceable and illegal definition of marriage, Ahlquist’s campaign changed the website.
“Tommy believes that marriage should be the union of a man and a woman. As our governor, he will support policies that promote and safeguard the traditional institution of marriage,” his website reads.
Previously, it had also said Ahlquist “will fight to protect Idaho’s right to define marriage within our state and support the current definition of marriage in Idaho as law.”
The U.S. Supreme Court overruled Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban in 2015. Idaho lawmakers have declined to take steps to remove the 2006 constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.
It is unclear how Labrador would fight to protect Idaho’s definition of marriage — his campaign plan did not include details — but Labrador says he will “actively look for an opportunity to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision that interfered with our state sovereignty and took away states’ ability to define marriage.”
“Voters will see these misleading negative political attacks by Congressman Labrador for what they are — a typical DC politician who for months has resorted to attacking Tommy to mask his faltering campaign that has no new ideas and is more of the same old same old from a professional politician,” said David Johnston, Ahlquist’s campaign manager.
Labrador also attacked two of Little’s votes during his time as a lawmaker in the Idaho Senate.
“My opponent Brad Little sided with Democratic lawmakers and cast the deciding vote in the Idaho Senate in 2004 to stop efforts to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman,” Labrador’s campaign email read.
In 2004, Little helped block Idaho’s same-sex marriage constitutional amendment for two years while serving as a state senator in the Idaho Legislature before supporting the 2006 version amid GOP political pressure to do so.
Little’s campaign manager Zach Hauge responded to Labrador’s attack by criticizing the congressman’s 2009 nay vote on gun legislation during his time serving in the Idaho House.
The legislation, signed into law by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, removed liability for employers for allowing employees to store firearms in personal vehicles on the employer’s property. Labrador was one of the few House Republicans to vote with Democrats against the proposal.
He “voted against the NRA and sided with liberal gun control advocates on the floor of the Idaho State Legislature in 2009,” Hauge said in a statement.