From what Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday, it sounded like Sen. Larry Craig was narrowing the circumstances under which he’d resign from the Senate, with McConnell reporting that Craig would stay in if he can just get his Minnesota guilty plea overturned by Sept. 30th. That’s different from what Craig’s office has been saying for the past two days, which is that Craig may not resign if he can resolve both his ethics case and his criminal case in Minnesota by that date.
“It is a fluid situation,” said Craig’s spokesman in Boise, Sid Smith. Smith said what he’s heard from Craig is that the senator would like to clear up both matters, and that even if he does so by Sept. 30th, he still might resign. Other factors playing into his decision include moves by other members of the Senate and public opinion in Idaho. “I think most importantly, even if they were resolved favorably, if the people of Idaho decide that they don’t want Larry there, he’s not going to continue to serve against the will of the people,” Smith said. “Most likely, he’s going to take that into strong consideration.” Asked how the senator would gauge that, Smith said, “For the last several days, we have been getting predominantly calls of support around the state from Idahoans. And by that I mean at all of our state offices. And, you know, if that were to change, we’d take a serious look at that. It is a fluid situation and we’re continuing to re-evaluate that almost continuously.”
Here are links to our coverage in today’s paper, my story on the developments with the ethics committee and my report on Gov. Butch Otter’s suggestion that he may pick a “placeholder” to replace Craig.