U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador on Dec. 19 cast a yes vote for Congress’ $1.5 trillion tax plan overhaul in Washington D.C. after missing several votes the day before to attend a gubernatorial campaign event in Idaho.
The Republican congressman attended the fundraiser Dec. 18 and then flew back east that night to cast the Dec. 19 vote.
“The event was planned a few months ago. Congress was not scheduled to be in session the evening of Dec. 18, but the schedule was changed a week ago,” said China Gum, Labrador’s campaign manager in a statement. “Raul attended his event and left early to catch a red eye so he could stand with President Trump for the historic vote to give all Idaho families tax relief.”
None of the votes missed Dec. 18 were of particular significance for Idaho. However, critics have noticed a slight uptick in missed votes for Labrador since he began running for governor.
Earlier this year, Labrador promised he could run a competitive statewide campaign while fulfilling his congressional duties.
“I can walk and chew gum, I think I’ve shown that, at the same time,” Labrador said when talking to reporters in June.
Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist are running against Labrador in the Idaho GOP primary, which will take place in May. The fight over the open seat is expected to be one of the most competitive races in 2018 now that Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has said he won’t seek re-election for a fourth term.
Ahlquist’s campaign criticized Labrador’s decision to attend the fundraiser.
“Once again DC politician Raul Labrador proved that he cares more about himself than he does about doing the job that Idaho voters elected him to do. He put a fundraiser over voting while drawing a $174,000 taxpayer salary,” said David Johnston, Ahlquist’s campaign manager in a prepared statement. “What is even more troubling is that all of this is happening as his colleagues are back in Washington preparing to pass comprehensive tax reform and voting on important measures affecting Idahoans.”
Ahlquist recently launched an attack website that pointed to the congressman’s recent missed votes.
According to govtrack.us, Labrador has missed 227 roll call votes since he assumed congressional office in 2011. The site ranks Labrador slightly higher than other House members who have missed votes.
In turn, Labrador has described Ahlquist as the “worst kind of politician” and said his brief spike in missed votes over the summer was due to a family emergency.
Little’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Labrador is expected to be in Washington D.C. Dec. 27 to re-vote for the tax overhaul after a Senate parliamentarian decided three minor provisions in the House version violated the chamber’s rules.