Trump Surrogates Endorse Ahlquist For Governor As Primary Moves Into Final Phase

May 1, 2018

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist have packed their schedules with visits to rural communities around the state as they attempt to shore up votes before the May 15  primary.

Ahlquist – who is the political newcomer of the three – is trying to position himself as a disrupter aligned with President Trump. Monday, he stood on stage at Zions Bank in downtown Boise with two Trump surrogates, conservative activist Candace Owens and former campaign staffer Charlie Kirk.

“We’ve had these politicians – these career politicians – and what I like about a businessman is that they know how to run things," says Owens. "Someone who’s run a business should be running a country because they understand how this works at a higher level.”

After the endorsement announcement, he was asked whether he would reject a citizen initiative to expand Medicaid access to uninsured Idahoans. Ahlquist says he would respect the will of the people, but would also work to change Idaho's health system entirely.

“My plan is to reform Medicaid," says Ahlquist, a former emergency room doctor, "my plan is to reform the insurance agencies, my plan is to use the high risk pool for what it should be: to get primary care to the sickest Idahoans.”

Organizers of the initiative say they’ve received enough signatures to put the measure before voters in the fall, but they still need to be validated.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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