Idaho's House Minority Leader is calling for U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador to step down from office while he runs a campaign to become Idaho's next governor.
State Rep. Mat Erpelding, a Democrat from Boise, says taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for Labrador to campaign while holding office. Members of congress are paid $174,000 a year.
"I think in order for Raul to be successful in his run for Governor, which obviously I'm concerned about, I don't think that he can do both his job in Washington, D.C. and run for governor," Erpelding said. "I think that he's taking advantage of taxpayer dollars if he spends all of his time in Idaho running for governor while collecting roughly $477 a day as he travels around the state angling for votes. That $477 a day is taxpayer dollars designed to be used to serve in the interest of the public, not to serve in the interest of a person's aspirations."
There is no law in Idaho that says Labrador needs to resign his congressional seat to run for governor. Erpelding would like to see that changed, "I think that we should look at a law that actually says if you're running for another office - and if it's in another branch of government, so if you're running for governor and you're in federal office - that you should have to resign to run for governor."
According to the Associate Press, five states do have those types of laws: Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Hawaii and Texas.
BYU-Idaho Radio has reached out to Rep. Labrador's office multiple times and has yet to hear back about the issue.
Right now the field for governor includes Tommy Ahlquist, Republican; Russell M. Fulcher, Republican; Raul R. Labrador, Republican; Brad Little, Republican; Lisa Marie, Republican; Troy R. Minton, Democrat; Michael Richardson, Independent; and John Thomas Wiechec, Independent.
Erpelding says he does not plan to run for higher office at this time but says he hasn't made any decisions and "would be surprised" if he ran for anything right now. He and his wife are expecting a baby, "I also think that my wife and I need to be the best parents that we can and I think that's going to be my focus," he said.
Our full interview with Erpelding is below.