Congressman Labrador talks about role of religion in presidential election

LEWISTON, ID - Congressman Raul Labrador of the Idaho First Congressional District touched base with constituents Wednesday in Lewiston.

Labrador spoke with KLEW about the role that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's faith plays in the presidential race.

"You know I don't think it's going to be much of a factor," said Labrador.

Labrador was talking about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon faith. It's a religion both he and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney both practice.

"When and if I become the president of the United States, I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square and I will not take God out of the platform of my party," said Romney at a recent campaign event.

Romney's faith as a member of the LDS Church was highlighted at the recent Republican National Convention. Despite all the initial attention, Labrador said that he thinks the current interest will be a mere footnote in the coming months.

"Here out west it is such a common thing, most people don't even think about it," said Labrador.

According to Labrador, Republicans and Independents have shown indifference to Romney's religious affiliation.

"If you look at the data, most of the people that have a negative opinion about the LDS Church are actually Democrats," said Labrador. "They're the ones who have a problem with the LDS faith."

Romney is the first Republican presidential candidate who is Mormon to win the party's nomination, though church founder Joseph Smith ran for president as an independent in 1844.

"It's sort of like J.F.K. and his Catholicism, it's an interesting thing, but I don't think it's going to be a defining thing in the campaign," said Labrador.

President Obama is a practicing mainline Protestant and both vice presidential candidates affiliate with Catholicism.