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
Palin Pick Goes Down in Idaho House Race
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)

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. (More Vaughn Ward stories.)

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