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ID-1: Labrador Upsets Ward In GOP Primary

Local tea party favorite Raul Labrador upset Vaughn Ward last night in the Republican primary for Idaho's 1st congressional district. Labrador overcame a fundraising disadvantage and Ward's endorsement by Sarah Palin to win 48-39 percent.

Labrador, who told the Idaho Statesman that the key to his victory was a consistent conservative message, will now face freshman Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick.

After defeating Republican Bill Sali in 2008 with 51 percent in the conservative 1st district, Minnick entered this election cycle as one of the most vulnerable incumbents. But he's voted with his party less than any other member of Congress, according to the Washington Post Votes Database, and flies back to his district nearly every weekend, despite the distance and unease.

In a memo to reporters early this morning, the National Republican Congressional Committee, which placed Ward atop its "Young Guns" program, wrote: "Unlike Walt Minnick, who enabled the Democrats' radical agenda by casting his first vote in Congress to install Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, Raul Labrador will provide conservative, independent leadership for the people of Idaho."

The 1st district, which covers the western and northern portions of Idaho (and part of Boise), gave John McCain 62 percent and George W. Bush 69 percent in the last two presidential elections.