We suspected this as an end result, and we weren't alone; Bryan Fischer of the Idaho Values Alliance delivered a sound analysis suggesting the same thing. We were wrong to a point, which is that we didn't think Idaho Senator Larry Craig would say conclusively that he will stay in the Senate until his term ends in January 2009. But now, today, that's what he's done.
The prompt for the statement was the decision out of Minnesota on his attempt to withdraw his guilty plea; Hennepin County District Judge Charles Porter said Craig's original plea was made "accurately, voluntarily and intelligently." In a release from his office, Craig said he was disappointed, did not indicate whether he would appeal (we're guessing now that he won't) but added this:
"I will continue to serve Idaho in the United States Senate, and there are several reasons for that. As I continued to work for Idaho over the past three weeks here in the Senate, I have seen that it is possible for me to work here effectively.
"Over the course of my three terms in the Senate and five terms in the House, I have accumulated seniority and important committee assignments that are valuable to Idaho, not the least of which are my seats on the Appropriations Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Veterans' Affairs Committee. A replacement would be highly unlikely to obtain these posts.
"In addition, I will continue my effort to clear my name in the Senate Ethics Committee - something that is not possible if I am not serving in the Senate.
"When my term has expired, I will retire and not seek reelection. I hope this provides the certainty Idaho needs and deserves."
Of course, the Senate Republican caucus could always try to take away the committee assignments too. But there's a real chance (especially since that hasn't happened yet) they won't, if only because that would give Democrats some significant leverage against them.