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Huffington Post: Labrador likely to challenge Otter

Now for today’s installment in the Raul Labrador rumor-go-round: a profile in the Huffington Post that all but says Labrador will challenged Gov. Butch Otter in the 2014 GOP primary.

The author, Jon Ward, pins that conclusion to an unnamed source — a person “close to Labrador’s political operation,” who thinks Labrador will give up his 1st Congressional District seat to run for governor.

The official, on-the-record comments are more guarded. Labrador again declined comment, saying he will make a decision in the next couple of months. Otter spokesman Jon Hanian dismissed the notion that his boss would seek a third term simply to keep Labrador out of the governor’s office. And the story reminds a national audience that Labrador and Otter have clashed over policy and political issues for several years.

“I wouldn’t say they are enemies,” former state GOP executive director Jonathan Parker told Ward. “But they definitely are in different camps.”

The Huffington Post article comes as the conventional wisdom in Idaho circles suggests Labrador will stay put and seek a third term in Congress. Labrador raised $65,000 in the second quarter of 2013, according to his latest federal financial disclosure report, a sum that suggested he isn’t stockpiling money to challenge Otter.

“Put a fork in it,” the Idaho Statesman’s Dan Popkey said in a headline last week. “Labrador’s gubernatorial plans are done for.”

In a weekend column, the Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russell pointed out that much of Labrador’s “unremarkable” second-quarter fundraising came from political action committees, pointing toward a re-election bid. “That’s a departure for Labrador, who typically has raised more of his campaign funds from individuals than from PACs.”

These days, everybody has a theory about Labrador’s next move.

Labrador, however, is keeping his theories to himself.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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