Idaho Sen. Larry Craig will be inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame next week, officials say, despite his well-publicized arrest and guilty plea in an airport sex sting.
The nonprofit Idaho Hall of Fame Association picked Craig in March, months before the Republican senator pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after a Minneapolis airport police officer accused him of soliciting sex in the men's restroom.
"Larry Craig has made a great contribution to Idaho over the period of 20-some years. At the time it was considered, this other matter had not come up," Wallace businessman and hall of fame board director Harry Magnuson told The Spokesman-Review. "Sen. Craig has made a great contribution. That's what he was recognized (for), and you can't undo that, I don't think."
But some Republicans say the honor is inappropriate now.
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"They ought to change their minds, whoever they are," North Idaho Pachyderm Club President Duane Rasmussen said. "Sen. Larry Craig is an embarrassment to all of Idaho, and he needs to resign from office."
Craig announced on Thursday that he planned to serve out his term.
Kootenai County Republican precinct committeeman Phil Thompson said Idaho Hall of Fame officials should consider at least postponing the induction.
"Maybe in 10 or 15 years we can think of this hall of fame stuff. Now is not the time," Thompson said. "It's a sad day to be a Republican."
But Idaho Hall of Fame board member Michael Ritz said it would be difficult to rescind the nomination.
"It's like someone saying, ‘I voted for him. I wish I hadn't,' " Ritz said. "It's pretty difficult when someone's been voted in and they've had acceptance letters and so on."
About 100 have been inducted into the hall since 1995, including the late Nez Perce Tribe leader Chief Joseph, Coeur d'Alene writer and historian Louise Shadduck, World War II fighter ace Gregory "Pappy" Boyington and newspaper and hospitality magnate Duane Hagadone.
Several people are scheduled to be inducted alongside Craig, including Gov. Butch Otter, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch and Boise State University football coach Chris Petersen.