Idaho Senator in Hot Water

*UPDATED*  Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) has agreed to step down as the top Republican on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and two other subcommittees pending an investigation of his June arrest,

I have been following this story a little bit, Idaho Senator Larry Craig has fallen into a very complicated sex scandal, this article if from the Politico written by a liberal hack so I chose to leave out the potshots at the end and post the mostly clean version of the article. -ROM

Craig seat in contest already
Josh Kraushaar
Aug 28, 2007 07:26 PM EST

A guilty plea by Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) to charges of disorderly conduct in a stall of an airport restroom has jeopardized his political future — but Democrats face a steep challenge in trying to pick up the Idaho seat.

Craig is up for reelection next year, but gave no hint during a statement to reporters Tuesday of whether he will run again, saying he will make his decision known next month. The scandal would seem to increase the likelihood that Craig will either step down at the end of his term in 2008, or resign, if the fallout continues to accumulate.

Craig said Tuesday that he “did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport,” despite pleading guilty to charges. “I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away.”

There would be no shortage of potential Republican candidates looking to succeed Craig if he retires or resigns. Lieutenant Gov. Jim Risch has previously said he would run if Craig retired. Risch served as acting governor after his predecessor, Dirk Kempthorne, was named Interior Secretary in May 2006.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) also has been frequently mentioned as a possible Senate candidate. Simpson, who served as speaker of the Idaho House in the mid-1990s, also has ambitions for statewide office.

But the anti-tax Club for Growth, which has played a pivotal role in Republican primaries, attacked Simpson today, calling him “one of the m ost economically liberal Republicans in Washington.”

“Given his liberal record on economic issues, it is hard to imagine how Mike Simpson wins a Republican primary in the event that this Senate seats opens up,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey.

If Craig resigns, Gov. Butch Otter (R) would be tasked with appointing a successor to complete the remainder of his term. The replacement would have an early advantage in running for reelection. Risch, who opted not to challenge Otter in the state’s gubernatorial primary last year, could have the inside edge for an appointment.

Former Congressman Larry LaRocco is the only Democrat so far to announce his candidacy for the Senate seat. He was the last Democrat to serve in the state’s Washington delegation, losing in the 1994 congressional landslide to Helen Chenoweth. LaRocco hasn’t experienced much political success since, losing to Risch by 19 points in last year’s lieutenant governor’s race.

Despite announcing his campaign in April, LaRocco has only raised $80,000 so far, with only $43,500 left in his campaign account.

Whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee will have a very tough challenge, whether Craig is the GOP nominee or not. Idaho is one of the most Republican states in the country: It gave President Bush 68 percent of the vote in 2004. Craig handily defeated investment banker Alan Blinken, who self-funded much of the campaign, by 32 points in 2002.

The entire statewide congressional delegation has been entirely Republican since 1994. The last Democratic senator from Idaho was Frank Church, who was defeated in 1980

Explore posts in the same categories: Sex & Politics, Washington

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