Keeping a promise he made to Senate Republicans, Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) did not file for reelection by the state’s deadline last Friday. Craig has been embroiled by the scandal surrounding his sex-sting arrest in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last June.
Craig had served Idaho in Washington for 26 years, making him the second-longest serving member for the state. He denied the charges that he solicited sex from an undercover police officer and emphatically stated that he is not gay. Early in the controversy, he said that he would resign, but determined to attempt to reverse his guilty plea and keep his seat. His efforts to clear his name in court were unsuccessful. Craig said that he had plead guilty in hopes of avoiding a scandal, a decision he later said he regretted.
As Friday’s 5:00 p.m. deadline passed, Craig’s political career, which started when he was elected to the Idaho Senate in 1974, is brought to a close.
Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, a Republican, will likely take Craig’s senate seat. Six other Republicans have filed to run for the seat and former Rep. Larry Rocco has filed to run on the Democratic ticket. Rocco and Risch went head-to-head in 2006 in the race for lieutenant governor.
Craig’s record on gay issues has dismayed the gay community as he supported the Federal Marriage Amendment and voted against the inclusion of “sexual orientation” in hate crime law. The Human Rights Campaign has given him a zero rating.