NAMPA—Tuesday was a rare opportunity for Southern Idaho voters to see and hear from North Idaho’s Democrat challenger Jimmy Farris, running against Eagle’s Republican Raul Labrador for the First Congressional District seat.
Viewers watching the debate on Idaho’s Very Own 24/7 saw Farris, the former NFL wide receiver come out in an all out blitz, and it was obvious from the opening remarks that neither candidate was going to hold back.
The 60 minutes of debate turned in a way, few would have predicted.
“His way is one of pessimism mine is one of optimism,” said Farris in his opening remarks.
While Labrador sounded-off too saying, “I believe that we have done everything that we said we were going to do.”
The candidates talked first about their priority in Washington D.C if elected to congress and both agreed it was reducing the deficit and both used it as an opportunity to point fingers.
“His ideology is to protect those at the top and put the burden on those at the end of the spectrum,” said Farris.
“He is just not serious about cutting spending; he is not serious about doing the right things for America,” Labrador fired back.
Farris then attacked Congressman Labrador's voting record and lack of bill sponsorship.
“But the fact that Walt Minnick was able to sponsor and pass five times as many bills as Congressman Labrador, Congressman (Bill) Sali was able to pass twice as many I think that is a problem,” said Farris.
Labrador took that opportunity to fight back
“I know that is all he has is to actually make things up as he goes along but if you are going to be in congress you have to be accurate about what you are saying and about what you are doing. I actually fear that the Democratic Party is embarrassed right now,” said Labrador.
Then it was to the topic of foreign policy, the federal government's role in education and the unemployment rate.
“He believes that government creates jobs and that is the fundamental difference between us,” said Labrador.
“I disagree with that whole heartedly if you are so against government jobs, why are you running for a government job? You are on the payroll,” said Farris.
After an hour of spirited debates, the candidates each were given a minute to close.
“Your way has failed sir and its time we try a new approach,” Farris fired off.
“I promise to work hard to change Washington and have it not change me I have kept that promise and I will continue to work for you,” said Labrador.
Congressman Labrador also attacked Farris' inexperience, and admitted many of the issues they battled over tonight--were just fundamental differences.
While Farris leans on a different argument, he wants to bring the teamwork he learned while in the NFL to Washington to work with both sides of the aisle.