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Eye On Boise

Dems: Otter should choose a ‘top statesman’

Idaho Democrats, reacting to news reports that Sen. Larry Craig may resign and that Gov. Butch Otter may choose Lt. Gov. Jim Risch to replace him, called on Otter today to follow a different course. “Should there be a resignation and should Gov. Otter have the opportunity … we think the governor should appoint one of Idaho’s top statesmen, such as former Gov. Phil Batt or former Gov. Cecil Andrus to fill any vacant Senate seat,” said Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director John Foster. “Should there be a vacancy, we ask that Gov. Otter appoint someone with unimpeachable character and a reputation as an independent thinker, someone who can serve Idaho well for the next year and then step aside to allow all Idahoans to choose their own U.S. senator.”

Foster said such a move would keep politics out of the process. “So far this week one of the main reasons we haven’t talked is because we wanted to avoid this becoming about politics,” he said. “And the reason we’re talking today is to make the suggestion that it continue to go that way, to avoid being about politics.”

Of course, following that course also would have a certain political ramification – it would mean that the 2008 race would be for an open Senate seat, rather than between an incumbent Republican and his or her challengers.

Foster said other names the Democrats are tossing out for possible interim appointees include former GOP Sen. Jim McClure and former Idaho House Speaker Bruce Newcomb.

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.