Larry Craig

Sen. Larry Craig: ‘I am proud of my record'

Sen. Larry Craig announces his resignation from the U.S. Senate during a press conference Saturday morning at the Boise Depot.
Sen. Larry Craig announces his resignation from the U.S. Senate during a press conference Saturday morning at the Boise Depot. Joe Jaszewski / The Idaho Statesman

U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's 27-year congressional career unraveled in six days.

A week ago today, Craig, 62, was pondering whether to run for re-election in 2008.

On Saturday, he apologized to Idahoans for not finishing his term and submitted his resignation effective Sept. 30.

In between, the world learned of Craig's June 11 arrest in a Minneapolis airport men's room by an undercover police officer who said Craig was soliciting sex. Craig had quietly pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

His support among national Republicans eroded swiftly as the party sought to distance itself from another scandal.

"To Idahoans I represent, to my staff, my Senate colleagues and most importantly to my wife and my family, I apologize for what I have caused," Craig said at the Boise Depot Saturday morning, as some supporters fought back tears.

"The people of Idaho deserve a senator who can devote 100 percent of his time and effort to the critical issues of our state and our nation," he said.

Craig didn't directly mention the scandal Saturday. "I have little control over what people choose to believe," he said.

Craig's office said it "has not been determined" whether he will return to Washington or ever cast another vote. Some Idahoans said Craig should leave the Senate immediately.

"He shouldn't work one more day," said Kim Moi, 46, of Boise.

Others warned the state will miss Craig's political clout on Capitol Hill.

"It's not ‘one less Idaho vote,'" Meridian GOP state Sen. Russ Fulcher said. "This will shake all the way through the system. We'll be feeling this for years to come."

President Bush called Craig after the announcement and said he knew resignation was a difficult decision, but the right one, spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

Gov. Butch Otter will name a successor to finish Craig's term, which expires in January 2009.

Craig brought millions of dollars in federal money to Idaho during his career. He was also known for advocating immigration reform.

"It is my hope that as history judges Sen. Craig, that his successes, accomplishments and strong leadership are taken in totality," said Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.

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