Saturday, September 1, 2007

Bye-Bye Larry

Posted By on Sat, Sep 1, 2007 at 4:00 AM

It’s official. Senator Larry Craig will step down effective Sept. 30.

Craig made the announcement this morning during a nationally televised news conference staged at the Boise Train Depot.

“To pursue my legal options as I continue to serve Idaho would be an unwanted and unfair distraction of my job and for my senate colleagues,” Craig said. These are serious times of war and of conflict. Times that deserve the senates and the full nation’s attention.

“Therefor it is with sadness and with deep regret that I announce that it is my intent to resign from the senate effective Sept. 30.”

The announcement is the cumulation of a fire storm of controversy that began on Monday when it was discovered that Craig had been arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on June 11 for lewd conduct. He pled guilt to the charged on Aug. 8, and Washington, D.C. newspaper Roll Call broke the story on Aug. 27.

Craig was surrounded by his wife, Suzanne, two of his three children and Republican political leaders including Rep. Bill Sali, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna

“For any public official to be standing with Larry Craig, at this time, is in itself, a humbling experience,” Craig said.

A crowd of more than 200 showed up to watch a moment in Idaho history. Several protestors held signs reading, “It’s 12:15, do you know which stall your senator is in?” and “Craig is not gay, he’s a pervert.”

While some families posed for pictures in front of the mass of national, regional and local news cameras, reporters and photographers, others simply milled about, taking in the spectacle rarely seen in Idaho.

As Craig arrived in an SUV, a crush of cameras surrounded him, following as he made his slow walk to the podium amid cheers and applause from supporters.

“I am proud of my record and accomplishments and equally proud of the wonderful and talented people with whom I have had the honor and the privilege to work and to serve,” he said.

"I chose to serve because I love Idaho. What is best for Idaho has always been the focus of my efforts, and it is no different today. To the Idahoans I represent, to my staff, my senate colleagues, but most importantly, to my wife and my family, I apologize for what I have cost. I am deeply sorry,” Craig said. “I have little control over what people choose to believe, but clearly my name is important to me.”

While Gov. Otter stood behind Craig in support, he would not issue any statements as to who may be tapped to serve out the rest of Craig’s term in the U.S. Senate.

Rumors began to circulate on Friday that the Lt. Gov. Jim Risch would be chose, a move that quickly drew criticism from the state Democratic party since Risch has previously stated that he would most likely run for Craig’s seat if Craig chose not to seek re-election.

“We hope Gov. Otter will d the right thing and appoint a place-holder so the people of Idaho can select the next U.S. senator,” said John Foster, executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party.

Jon Hanian, press secretary for Gov. Otter, said there is no time line for selecting a replacement.

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