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Candidate backed by national GOP, Palin defeated in Idaho

By Paul Steinhauser, CNN Deputy Political Director
  • Idaho State Rep. Raul Labrador beats Vaughn Ward in House primary
  • Ward was backed by Sarah Palin, National GOP "Young Guns" program
  • Labrador is a conservative favored by local Tea Party groups
  • He will face Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick in November

(CNN) -- A Republican congressional candidate in Idaho who was recruited by national Republicans and endorsed by Sarah Palin was defeated Tuesday in a primary election.

Idaho State Rep. Raul Labrador topped Vaughn Ward in the battle for the GOP nomination for Idaho's 1st Congressional District.

Ward, an Iraq war veteran who served as a state campaign coordinator for GOP Sen. John McCain's 2008 bid for the White House, was picked as a candidate for the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Guns" program. He greatly out-raised Labrador in the race for campaign cash, and Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee who was born in Idaho, joined Ward at a rally last week.

But Ward apparently damaged his bid in recent weeks, allegedly plagiarizing from a speech President Barack Obama made at the 2004 Democratic convention. He also mistakenly indicated that Puerto Rico was a country during a recent debate.

Labrador, a conservative favored by local Tea Party groups, will now face Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick in November's general election. Minnick, a freshman member of Congress who won the district by 2 percentage points in the 2008 election, was the only Democrat to receive an endorsement in April by the Tea Party Express, a national group that has organized three cross country bus tours.

The district covers the western part of Idaho, including parts of suburban Boise.