Rumors are swirling all over Idaho, and a good portion of DC, over whether Sen. Larry Craig is going to run again in 2008. Last week there were the overheard rumblings of Boise politicos over an upcoming expose in the state's largest paper. This week I've seen and heard a few more conflicting reports.
First, back to Tom Paine at 43rd State Blues and a bizarre op-ed from a regional paper, the Post Register (no link):
Mike Adams, local Idaho Falls GOP gadfly & sometime mouthpiece for Frank Vandersloot, GOP homophobe & multi-level millionaire, has an interesting op-ed in this Sunday's Post Register.
Adams, a former radio-station owner who advised Mr. V in his purchase last year of 6 stations, bluntly asserts that Larry Craig will not be running in '08, and then uses the rest of his column to tout 6 unknown undesirables.... I find it a very, very strange coincidence this op-ed is now appearing. Especially since Vandersloot, who's always been a big Larry Craig supporter in years gone by, and is a big insider in the Idaho GOP, is so close to the action.
Shoring up the retirement rumors is something I heard this week from a very well-connected Idaho politico, who heard it from an even more connected pol--one with inroads to the GOP. His sources say Craig is retiring and now it's just a matter of when: now, so that current Lt. Gov. Risch can be named to replace him, or at the end of his term. That would potentially create an intra-party fight for who gets to run for the seat. The two most often mentioned potentials are Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-02), and Risch who got a taste of glory filling in as state executive when former governor Dirk Kempthorne was named Interior Secretary, but is now back to second chair.
But not so fast. This [Word doc] fell into my lap recently--an invitation to a high dollar fundraising reception for Craig later this month. The list of sponsors is the who's who of GOP leaning lobbyists and interest groups, so Craig still has plenty of friends willing to keep him around.
I suspect that much is waiting on what one man has to say about Craig: Dan Popkey, political columnist for the Idaho Statesman. It's an open secret in the state that Popkey has been working on a big story for several weeks now, and that story is about Craig. From what I've heard, just about everybody in Idaho politics has heard from Popkey, and he's been to D.C., as well. The focus of all this investigating by Popkey is apparently Craig's personal life since he got married and the rumors of his homosexuality--a heretofore evaded topic in Idaho's local press. The story could be a lot clearer in a week or two when Popkey's column is published.