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Palin-backed, Obama-plagiarizing GOP candidate loses in Idaho

We won't have Vaughn Ward to kick around anymore. The candidate who cribbed vast sections of Barack Obama's 2004 DNC speech, the candidate who refused to believe that Puerto Rico was part of the United States, lost the GOP's nomination to run against Rep. Walt Minnick (R-Idaho) yesterday. State Rep. Raul Labrador beat Ward by 9 points, 48-39, with minor candidates splitting the remaining votes.

According to Dan Popkey's report in the Idaho Statesman, Sarah Palin's endorsement of Ward was more or less a bust -- a rare thing for the former governor in GOP primaries. (It's a defeat for the NRCC, too, which gave Ward coveted "Young Gun" status in reward for his early campaign moves.)


Dave Benson, 44, of Middleton, said he knew little about Ward or Labrador, but the Palin visit was decisive: "Palin loves the guy, so he can't be all bad."

Palin's help, however, cut both ways. Janice Aagaard, 67, of Boise, said she finally decided against Ward for two reasons: He still owns a house in Virginia and rents in Eagle, and she dislikes Palin.

"I'm not a fan of Sarah's, so once she hooked up with Ward and the fact he doesn't have a permanent home here, I couldn't vote for him," said Aagaard, a retired administrative manager.

Minnick's road to reelection is a little tougher now that he's not going to face the in-over-his-head Ward. In one sign of the anti-incumbent mood, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter (R-Idaho), one of the country's most libertarian politicians and one of the first to sign a law opting out of the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, won only 55 percent of the vote against five opponents. The runner-up, Rex Rammell, was most famous for joking that he wanted to hunt the president.

By David Weigel  |  May 26, 2010; 8:28 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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