Rand Paul encourages unity within Idaho's GOP

By Kimberlee Kruesi

Associated Press

Published: Friday, June 13 2014 10:52 p.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, June 13 2014 10:52 p.m. MDT

Sen. Rand Paul, right, R-Ky., speaks during the Idaho Republican Convention on Friday, June 13, 2014, in Moscow, Idaho.

Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Dean Hare, Associated Press

MOSCOW, Idaho — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a 2016 GOP presidential prospect, spoke in front of hundreds of Idaho Republicans Friday and urged them to put differences aside as they head into November.

Paul, the state convention's keynote speaker, also offered his support for Idaho congressman Raul Labrador, who earlier Friday announced his longshot bid for U.S. House majority leader.

"I think what people are hungry for is, maybe, some good leadership and I think Labrador would be a great leader," said Paul, who was joined at the state convention by Labrador.

House Republicans will be picking a new majority leader to succeed Rep. Eric Cantor, who was defeated earlier this week in Virginia's GOP primary.

In Republican-dominated states like Idaho, Paul says it's normal to have political in-fighting inside the party. However, he added it's important to support Republican candidates in the general election.

"Really, overall, Republicans have more unifying beliefs than dividing," Paul said.

Paul's speech also touched on curbing federal spending and stopping unnecessary government growth. He said Republicans shouldn't appear more moderate, instead, they should focus on limiting government and reaching out to voters in demographics often overlooked.

"We have to do better, we have to cut out the frivolous," Paul said.

Paul finished his speech with an emphasis on improving the criminal justice system, stressing that every American citizen deserves a fair trial.

Paul's address came just hours after hundreds of GOP delegates attending the three-day convention in Moscow, Idaho, spent the day fighting over control of the state party.

Nearly 20 percent of the delegates were deemed ineligible by a committee controlled by the tea party, which is at odds with Republican's establishment wing in Idaho.

Labrador said he's working on uniting the state and national Republican party but declined to give details right away on his strategy to do so.

"We're weaker when we're divided," Labrador said. "After the primaries, we should focus on unity. I'm working on that right now."

Labrador has been designated as chairman of the Idaho GOP convention by state party chair Barry Peterson.

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