Palin Pick Goes Down in Idaho House Race

Frontrunner Vaughn Ward loses in upset to Raul Labrador

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 26, 2010 7:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – State Rep. Raul Labrador won the Republican nomination yesterday in a key Idaho House race, pulling an upset over rival Vaughn Ward, who had a 6-to-one fundraising advantage and an endorsement by Sarah Palin. Ward was an early frontrunner in the race, designated as one of the GOP's top 23 recruits in its "Young Guns" candidate development program. But he came under fire for plagiarism in campaign speeches, including lifting passages from the keynote address given by Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic Convention.

Labrador entered the race late, launching his bid just six months ago, and the primary became an unusually tangled battle that divided local and national Tea Party activists. With 435 of 462 precincts reporting, Labrador collected 48.1% of the vote compared to 38.8% for Ward, who described the race as "a humbling experience." Labrador's victory sets up a battle with first-term Democrat Walt Minnick in November.

Idaho House candidate Vaughn Ward and his wife Kirsten Ward complete their voter registration before casting their ballots in the Idaho primary on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho.
Idaho House candidate Vaughn Ward and his wife Kirsten Ward complete their voter registration before casting their ballots in the Idaho primary on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho.   (Charlie Litchfield)
Idaho first congressional district candidate Raul Labrador files his ballot after voting in the Idaho primary election on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho.
Idaho first congressional district candidate Raul Labrador files his ballot after voting in the Idaho primary election on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho.   (Charlie Litchfield)
Raul Labrador fills out his ballot for the Idaho primary on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho. Labrador is running against Vaughn Ward and the winner will take on Democrat Walt Minnick this fall.
Raul Labrador fills out his ballot for the Idaho primary on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho. Labrador is running against Vaughn Ward and the winner will take on Democrat Walt Minnick this fall.   (Charlie Litchfield)
Raul Labrador jokes with his wife before voting in the Idaho primary on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho. Labrador is running against Vaughn Ward; the winner will take on Democrat Walt Minnick.
Raul Labrador jokes with his wife before voting in the Idaho primary on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho. Labrador is running against Vaughn Ward; the winner will take on Democrat Walt Minnick.   (Charlie Litchfield)
Vaughn Ward walks out of his polling precinct with his wife Kirsten after the two cast their ballots in the Idaho primary on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho.
Vaughn Ward walks out of his polling precinct with his wife Kirsten after the two cast their ballots in the Idaho primary on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho.   (Charlie Litchfield)
Idaho first district congressional Republican candidate Vaughn Ward receives his ballot before casting his vote in the Idaho primary election on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho.
Idaho first district congressional Republican candidate Vaughn Ward receives his ballot before casting his vote in the Idaho primary election on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Eagle, Idaho.   (Charlie Litchfield)
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