On Jul 21st in Coeur D’Alene, the three Republican gubernatorial candidates squared off in a “Question and Answer” format that was designed to draw out the candidates’ views. All three of them took the opportunity to try and set themselves apart from the others in front of the strongly faithful Republican Party crowd that had gathered for their annual convention.

Drew Gerber with the Spokesman-Review had a good summary of the night’s events in his article on July 22nd:

“While not structured as a debate, the candidates – who all identify as conservatives – made an effort to create daylight between themselves and their opponents.

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador took several swipes at opponent and businessman Tommy Ahlquist, who has positioned himself as an outsider candidate in the vein of President Donald Trump, by questioning Ahlquist’s conservative credentials and whether a businessman with no government experience could be effective as Idaho’s chief executive.

And both Labrador and Ahlquist appeared to set themselves to the right of Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who has worked in Gov. Butch Otter’s administration and, perhaps as a consequence, appeared more favorable of Idaho’s progress under the governor.

“I’d like to welcome Tommy to the Republican Party,” Labrador said, after claiming Ahlquist now professes more conservative views on tax incentives for recruiting business to Idaho than he did previously.”

Labrador showed exactly how he and his allies will shoot at Tommy: call him a Democrat. Tommy now has months to prepare return fire. Seemed like an early mistake.

Raul kept making the statement to the effect of “it was because of people like ME that Donald Trump got elected”. Really? How about all the people in the audience? It came across as pretty egotistical.

Finally, when asked if cutting taxes is a “cost” to the government, Brad Little took the air out of the room and out of his conservative credentials by answering “yes”. A few jaws in the room hit the floor on that one.

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