BOISE - Idaho GOP Sen. Mike Crapo announced Tuesday that he’ll run for re-election in 2016, seeking a fourth six-year term in the Senate.
Crapo named Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Jim Risch and Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador, all fellow Republicans, as his campaign co-chairs. In a statement from Washington, D.C., Crapo said, “It’s an honor to have the support of these tremendous Idaho leaders who I have worked closely with over the years as we have served the people of Idaho and together fought for conservative values and policies.”
There had been some speculation that Crapo might not run again, after his DUI arrest in December of 2012, to which he pleaded guilty and apologized. Crapo had long been known as a teetotaler due to his strict Mormon faith; the arrest shocked his supporters. But several times since the DUI, Crapo, 63, has said he intended to seek another term.
After the arrest, he told police he had consumed several shots of vodka before going for a drive; he later told reporters he had been drinking vodka with tonic water at his apartment, then went for a drive to “try to wind down.” He was arrested after making a U-turn at a red light; he registered a 0.11 blood-alcohol level at the scene and a higher 0.14 level in a test taken later at the jail. He was sentenced to a $250 fine, a suspended 180-day jail sentence, an alcohol awareness program and a one-year license suspension.
After his guilty plea, Crapo told reporters he had started drinking at home over the previous year in a misguided attempt to relieve stress, and regretted bringing shame to himself and his faith. “I’m swearing off alcohol and I am not going to continue to drink,” he said then.
Crapo also is a survivor of prostate cancer, for which he’s been treated twice during his Senate career. A Harvard-educated lawyer, Brigham Young University graduate and Idaho Falls native, he served eight years in the state Senate, including serving as Senate president pro-tem, and three terms in Congress before winning his first U.S. Senate term in 1998.
In a rarity, Crapo was unopposed but for a write-in candidate when he won his second term in 2004; he won his third term in 2010 with 71.2 percent of the vote, and has often been among the top vote-getters on Idaho’s ballot.
“I think generally there’s been, throughout his career, a lot of respect for him and the work he’s done,” said Jim Weatherby, Boise State University professor emeritus and a longtime observer of Idaho politics.
Weatherby said Crapo “covered his bases” in his choice of campaign co-chairmen, “drawing upon representatives of the various factions” of Idaho’s Republican Party, from tea party favorite Labrador to sitting Gov. Otter.
Crapo has posted a campaign website at crapoforsenate.com, with the slogan, “Mike Crapo, for a better Idaho,” but doesn’t yet have a campaign office. He has a huge campaign warchest, however, with the latest Federal Election Commission reports showing his campaign with $3.7 million in cash on hand as of March 31.
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