Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Monday, August 27, 2007

Larry Craig Caught Cruising

  • Idaho: Here's a fun fact: Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig was arrested two and a half months ago for "lewd conduct" in an airport bathroom, to which he subsequently pled guilty in a court of law:

    Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

    Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.
    And what was it exactly that constituted this disorderly conduct to which Craig pled guilty?

    According to the incident report, Sgt. Dave Karsnia was working as a plainclothes officer on June 11 investigating civilian complaints regarding sexual activity in the men’s public restroom in which Craig was arrested. ...

    “I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes,” the report states.

    Craig then entered the stall next to Karsnia’s and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door. ...

    “At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

    Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”

    Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.

    “With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’
    Despite Craig's pleading guilty to the incident and paying the ensuing fines and fees, a Craig spokesman still described the incident as nothing more than a "he said/he said misunderstanding." Indeed. Previous to this incident, I was expecting a retirement announcement from Larry Craig. Upon the revelation of this incident, I don't see how he runs for re-election. (HT: TPM)

    UPDATE (8:57pm): Here is the entirety of Larry Craig's statement in response to the Roll Call article:

    "At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct.

    "I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."
    I see. Larry Craig thinks we're all very, very stupid.


    Blogger Woody said...

    So what happens next? What if Larry Craig decides that, in view of his error in judgement in pleading guilty, that he should just go ahead and resign, then what? the Repub Governor appoints a successor to serve until? the regularly scheduled election in Nov 2008? or a special election sooner? And who might the Gov appoint? It does give the Gov an opportunity to reward a friend and punish an enemy, because the appointed Senator will presumably have a head start in any Repub primary and the general election. Some possible candidates were being mentioned. Does this likely development change their prospects?

    Not that I'm in any hurry for the matter to be resolved. I want the voters of Idaho to have ample opportunity to discuss the situation of their closet-case, self-hating, gay-hating incumbent Repub Senator.

    9:21 PM, August 27, 2007  
    Blogger Bobby Duncan said...

    Vitter, now this? Craig was already being rumored to be gay anyways.

    Since Vitter didn't resign, nor did Domenici, nor did Stevens, I'm guessing Craig won't either.

    9:43 PM, August 27, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...


    Gov. Otter would appoint a Senator to fill the rest of Craig's term. The election would proceed as normal in November, 2008. No special election, and no rules on who the Governor can appoint, though he would appoint a Republican, presumably his Lt. Governor.

    Lt. Governor Jim Risch has confirmed he's interested in seeking the Senate seat if Craig does not. In addition, Rep. Mike Simpson has taken his name out of consideration, so Risch would likely have the nomination sewn up. Risch was first elected Lt. Governor in 2002, then after he declared his intentions to run again, Bush tapped then-Gov. Dirk Kempthorne to head the Interior Department, elevating Risch to the Governor's Mansion. Risch was already campaigning for re-election as Lt. Governor, and Rep. Butch Otter had already announced he was running for the Governor, so Risch became the only person I can think of to actively campaign for Lt. Governor as the sitting Governor. Who did Risch defeat in 2006, by a margin of 58%-39%? 2008 Senate candidate Larry LaRocco.

    So if Craig does decide to resign or retire, Risch is the likely appointee/nominee, and would be heavily favored in a rematch with LaRocco.

    10:25 PM, August 27, 2007  

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