- Associated Press - Monday, May 22, 2017

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Like many states across the United States, Idaho doesn’t have resign-to-run laws preventing office holders from dedicating time and resources to campaign for another position.

However, that’s not stopping some at least one state official from asking U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador to leave Congress while he campaigns for the Idaho governor’s seat while others are noticing how other lawmakers are using their power while campaigning for other seats.

House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, a Democrat from Boise, says taxpayers should not subsidize Labrador’s campaign.

“By running for one office while holding another, Congressman Labrador is shirking his duties to the people who elected him while asking them to pay for his campaign,” Erpelding said.

Labrador’s campaign did not return multiple requests for comment Monday.

Erpelding’s complaint comes at a time when the majority of competitive Republican candidates have started throwing in their names for elected seats that’ll be up for grabs in the 2018 election. So far, four sitting GOP lawmakers have filed to run for higher statewide offices. No Democratic lawmaker has made a similar announcement.

Erpelding added that he’s pinpointing Labrador and not Lt. Gov. Brad Little - who is also running for the top elected seat - because it costs more to cover Labrador’s travel and believes that Little is doing a good job balancing both his political duties and campaign.

However, Little’s recent decision to issue an executive order while Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter also sparked speculation that he did so with the gubernatorial race in mind.

Little signed an executive order last week ordering states to look at possible occupational licensing reforms, which has long been favored by conservative groups in Idaho.

“Yet, one year from the Republican Primary for governor - in which candidates are competing to parade their conservative credentials - Little may be trying to make his mark and perhaps appeal to voters who think Little is just another Otter,” wrote Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the free market think thank Idaho Freedom Foundation, in a recent newsletter.

Meanwhile, some experts counter that such resign to run laws discourage candidates from running for public office because people won’t run for lower political offices but instead seek appointed positions or non-governmental positions - which could lead to a higher chance of conflict of interests.

“Most states not only do not have resign to run laws, but some even allow officials to hold more than one elective office at the same time - usually local offices - including Idaho,” said gary Moncrief, a political scientist professor at Boise State University.

Currently, just five states have enacted various resign-to-run laws: Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Hawaii and Texas.

Otter isn’t running for a fourth term in 2018, but when he first announced he was running for the gubernatorial seat he also raised eyebrows. In 2004, Otter announced he was running for governor before he had even taken his oath for his third term in Congress.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide