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Political Analysis: Experience in District One

Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin

By all accounts Vaughn Ward should be my guy for Congress in Idaho’s First District. Veteran. Conservative. Connected. So why do I find Laura Silsby more believable?

For point of reference I am a conservative writer, and in Idaho the late Helen Chenoweth-Hage is my gold standard. But she has been hard to replace. So now I have a decision to make between Ward and Raul Labrador. I have met both gentlemen only once, but have studied them closely.

One thing I am certain of is that with either man I will get the votes in Washington that I want. That is an unusual position to be in. Both Labrador and Ward are conservative Republicans which means I’ll be happy with them about 80 percent of the time. That is pretty good actually.

But how to choose? Both have the experience that could make them effective. Labrador in the state legislature knows how laws are made, understands committee work, and has shown himself as a leader. His campaign has certainly been low key to publicly non-existent until recently but he has name recognition among the R’s and many already will either vote for him or not.

Ward on the other hand demonstrated leadership as a Marine officer, and knows the political ropes through campaigning for others and serving as a legislative liaison. But for Labrador’s non-campaign, Ward has all but campaigned himself right out of the race.

One misstep after another followed by the worst of public statements and attempted atonement. I thought so when I met Ward – he was too … too much for a simple event and conversation. Now I get it. His truck isn’t real, his reports aren’t complete, his website verbiage is borrowed. I knew as soon as I saw it that he was in trouble for pimping his Marine uniformed self in ads for personal and political gain. It is not just that he should have known the regulations – but rather his not knowing should have been over-ridden with good judgment.

Imagine Elana Kagan, precisely qualified for the Supreme Court, but with no judgeship experience making the missteps of Ward. The Republicans would bury her. So should they with Ward. Experience or no, too many mistakes of judgment followed by slick talk are, well, too many mistakes of judgment. Serial poor judgment negates experience.

So the call goes to Labrador? Well, sure, in the primary. But in November, I already have a guy who makes me happy with his vote about 80 percent of the time, an Idaho conservative, a veteran, and he has experience. His name is Minnick.

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