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Sen. Larry Craig Seeks to Salvage Political Career

In hopes of salvaging his political career, conservative Republican Sen. Larry Craig and his legal team are seeking to withdraw his voluntary guilty plea for disorderly conduct in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.

Despite the Idaho senator's move to fight his conviction, fellow lawmakers remain adamant about an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.

On Saturday, Craig announced his intention to resign Sept. 30, in the wake of a police report alleging that he had solicited sex from a male officer at the Minneapolis airport in June. The officer, Sgt. Dave Karsnia, was in the airport men's bathroom as part of an undercover gay sex sting stemming from complaints of lewd behavior there.


But now Craig has decided he wants to stay in the venerable chamber that he has served in for three terms. He is up for re-election next year.

Fellow Republicans, however, aren't swayed by last-ditch efforts by Craig — who pleaded guilty to the charges by mail in August. They said Senate rules give them authority to investigate "improper conduct, which may reflect upon the Senate."

Republicans' decision to quickly desert Craig — even stripping him of leadership duties — is dismissed as self serving considering many are up for re-election and they don't want to stump with a sorely tarnished image.

That could prove difficult considering Sen. David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana, had to apologize in July for his use of a D.C. "escort service." And a year ago, the GOP was criticized for a slow response to reports that six-term Rep. Mark Foley, a Republican from Florida, had sent sexually explicit Internet messages to an underage male former page.

Craig, who repeatedly asserts that he is "not gay," has fended off rumors about being gay for years. His voting record has tended to be against gay rights.


Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who would fill any vacancy in the state's Senate delegation, met privately in Boise with Craig. Otter's spokesman said the governor assumed there still would be a transition at month's end.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press

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