Russ Fulcher served in the Idaho Legislature from late 2005 to 2014 before giving Butch Otter a run for his gubernatorial money in the May ’14 primary. Fulcher is seeking to replace Raul Labrador as First District representative for Idaho in the U.S. House. Fulcher will be formidable.
David Leroy is a former Idaho lieutenant governor and state attorney general. He, too, is seeking to replace Labrador, and he also brings a credible candidacy to the table.
So where does that leave Luke Malek?
Malek, as this newspaper has reported and political columnist Chuck Malloy highlighted on Friday, is considering joining the race. A lawyer by profession, Malek has been serving District 4 in the Idaho Legislature since 2012.
Already, some from the far right edge of the Republican Party are unfairly and inaccurately painting Malek as a liberal. They fear somebody like Luke, a 35-year-old who’s intelligent, hard working, independent thinking and immune to the ideological potions gulped greedily in extremist bunkers.
When Luke sent out some trial balloons, trying to get a sense of the possibility of being the first Kootenai County resident since 1950 (John T. Wood) elected to Congress, some expressed doubts. Maybe he’s too young. Maybe he’s not popular enough with a faction of the party that is both extremely conservative and extremely diligent in getting out and voting. Maybe this. Maybe that.
But as time has gone by, many of those maybes have been replaced by these:
Maybe, just maybe, it’s his time. Maybe Idaho is ready for an energetic, conservative, rational Republican who has earned respect on both sides of the aisle. Someone who has worked feverishly for the poor in our community, who founded and led what is now a powerful local organization of young professionals, who has garnered respect over the past five years as much for his listening as his talking.
You know: Someone who’s in touch with real Idahoans and the issues that matter most to them.
Malek would give Republicans and Independents a distinctive option next year, one that makes too much sense to ignore or delay. This isn’t complicated, so in terms that even Spot could understand:
Run, Luke. Run!