Labrador kicks off campaign for Idaho governor with extremist hires in AG’s office

As an Idahoan involved in politics and policy for five decades, let me be one of the first to welcome the two out-of-state deputies Attorney General-elect Raúl Labrador has hired.

David Dewhirst and Theo Wold will assume high-level advisory positions starting Jan. 2.

Idaho is a welcoming state. We open our doors to asylum seekers, political refugees and lifestyle aspirants. Some real estate companies even promote Idaho as the promised land for white nationalists desiring to establish a redoubt. We are a magnet for many.

From news reports, we learned Dewhirst and Wold are deeply embedded in MAGA world and the right-wing ideology of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. They have been briefly touching down in places where political ideology appears to trump legal work. It will be interesting to see if Idaho isn’t another whistle-stop on their journey to far-right places.

I would feel better if I knew they loved to recreate on public lands, fished for steelhead in clear rivers, stood strongly for public education, recognized our cities’ policies against discrimination and supported women’s reproductive rights. We know freedom when we see it and don’t need others with political agendas to tutor us.

With the John Birch Society making major inroads into the DNA of the Idaho GOP, I am skeptical these new hires truly absorb our Idaho values.

Frankly, this staff announcement scares the hell out of me. It was clearly the first of many messages from Labrador to his right-wing base of Idaho. Thus begins his 2026 campaign for governor. It remains to be seen how many more politically pure staff will be announced. Or how many dedicated Idaho lawyers will be purged by Labrador to complete his sweep.

Labrador promised to be aggressive and, yes, he prevailed in the recent election. But I would caution our newest residents to take it slow and get to know the true essence of Idaho before they treat us as right-wing loonies looking for legal representation.

Donald Trump lost 60-plus legal challenges to his conspiracy-minded belief that the 2020 election was stolen. He was represented by just the type of legal counsel Labrador is importing to Idaho. That should throw up caution flags to every Idahoan.

Labrador can continue to disparage Idaho journalists at his pleasure. But he and his team should remember there are many eyes watching him as he tries to conform Idaho’s legal team to his extremist views. We have a sense of justice and fairness. We know true North.

Welcome Mr. Dewhirst and Mr. Wold, but please know this is not our first right-wing rodeo. Idahoans have weathered many assaults on our values from charlatans who thought we just fell off a beet truck.

Larry LaRocco was a congressman from 1991-95, representing Idaho’s 1st Congressional District.