Rep. Minnick leaving GOP challenger in his wake

The National Republican Congressional Committee's (NRCC) decision not to spend money in Idaho's 1st district increasingly appears justified.

Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick leads Republican challenger Raul Labrador 52 percent to 29 percent in a poll of 400 likely voters, conducted July 29 by GS Strategy Group for the Idaho Hospital Association.

Minnick’s lead has increased by 13 points since a poll conducted for the Labrador campaign by GOP pollster Bob Moore July 12 and 13, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Labrador's campaign disputed the results from the new poll.

"This poll is not consistent with polling that we've seen both internally and otherwise," China Veldhouse Gum, a Labrador spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. "Voters are recognizing who truly has the qualifications, background, values, and ideals that resonate with them and that's Raul Labrador."

Earlier this week, Minnick was chuckling on Twitter after it emerged the NRCC didn't plan to buy TV airtime in the district.

"Someone's missing. Again," Minnick tweeted Tuesday, referring to Labrador. 

Labrador was also left out of the NRCC's "Young Guns" promotions in June and July. He defeated Iraq War veteran Vaughn Ward — a committee favorite — in the May primary. 

Despite the lead, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved time in the district, although it likely has the option to cancel before it needs to dole out the cash.

Minnick, a one-term incumbent, voted against healthcare reform and the stimulus bill. He reported a significant cash-on-hand advantage — $1.1 million to Labrador's $69,000 — at the end of June.

--Updated at 3:27 p.m.