Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has added a name to his short list of candidates to replace Sen. Larry Craig – state Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, the state Senate’s youngest member. McGee, 34, is a second-term state senator and chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Otter offered no reason for adding McGee to a list that the governor’s office said now also includes Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, former state Sen. Dane Watkins, and former Lt. Gov. David Leroy.
Otter also said he’s decided against naming a “placeholder” for the Senate seat, and then letting those who want the position permanently duke it out in the next election. Advice from 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson and U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo played into that decision, said Otter’s press secretary, Jon Hanian. “He gave it a hard look, but I think in the end he decided it wasn’t the most prudent way to go,” Hanian said. The reason: The need to build up seniority for Idaho’s next senator in order to eventually secure key committee assignments.
That would seem to eliminate Leroy, who said yesterday he’d consider an interim appointment but plans to support Risch for Senate in the 2008 election.