Former Rep. Bill Sali (R-Idaho) will not seek a return to Congress, he announced Friday.

But before exiting the scene, he endorsed the outsider candidate in the race, state Rep. Raul Labrador, over Iraq veteran Vaughn Ward.

Sali has been toying with a return bid ever since losing his seat after one term in 2008. In the end, his decision not to run again was a sigh of relief for the party, who wanted to go in a different direction.

But if Labrador can turn Sali's support into some real momentum, a tough primary could be in the making for Ward. Ward is a part of the NRCC's Young Guns program; Labrador is not.

Idaho's filing deadline is today.

UPDATE: The Idaho Statesman reports Sali had some choice words about Ward:

"Vaughn has served our country with distinction and we owe him a debt of gratitude for that, as we do all of our veterans. But I have to tell you, sending Vaughn Ward to Washington, D.C., is a little bit like sending a Boy Scout to Iraq. He doesn't have any experience casting tough votes. He doesn't have experience in the political arena."