Lost in all the excitement of New Hampshire, the news that Larry Craig is still trying to withdraw that pesky guilty broke Tuesday (subscription) to little attention. Craig's lawyers have filed with the Minnesota Court of Appeals, asking that it overturn a lower court's refusal to let him have a mulligan.
The brief argues that the Hennepin County district court "abused its discretion" by refusing to allow Craig to withdraw his guilty plea in a ruling on Oct. 4. Craig filed a notice of appeal on Oct. 15 and briefs were due on Jan. 8.
Meanwhile, back in Idaho, Craig's self-appointed, GOP would-be successor, Jim Risch, is back to the scare-mongering. Last month he sent a breathless fundraising letter, warning Idahoans that the national media and the New Yorkers and Hollywoodites were going to take over the Gem State if they didn't send him money.
This month's letter is another treasure trove of paranoia. It not only evokes the same sense as a Publisher's Clearinghouse pitch from the early 1980s (sans copyediting), it promises even more fear! "Liberal Democrats Are Plotting to Steal This U.S. Senate Seat." Who knew that Senate seats revert to private property in Idaho? It only gets better from there, as MountainGoat reports:
The letter goes on in the same strangely desperate fashion as the previous fundraising letter and includes curious baseball references and something about his being a target that makes him "breakout into a huge smile." It also again touts his strong-arming the state legislature into special session as temporary governor in '06 to pass a tax increase on average Idahoans which he disguised as property tax relief.
The letter includes an appeal from Idaho's GOP governor, but what it doesn't include is the fact that Risch is using Larry Craig to speak at his fundraisers. See, the lobbyists and corporate interests care little about Larry Craig's, um, extracurricular activities, but care a hell of a lot about getting another toady for their interests in the seat. While this dashes my fondest hope--that Craig's stubbornness would lead him to decide to try to keep his seat just to show them all--it doesn't mean Craig can't create some mischief back in Idaho for Risch. See, while he might be happy using Craig's clout to raise money in DC, Larry Craig's name doesn't come up a lot in Risch's campaign back home in Idaho, where Craig's popularity has most definitely waned.
Beyond this, there's the tidbit that Risch's paranoia might just reflect some real fear. The Dems are going to be awash in money this year, and they're even looking toward Idaho. While the DSCC hasn't committed yet to Dem Larry LaRocco, the DCCC has already said that they'll be targetting Idaho's first district and its trainwreck of a Congressman, Republican Bill Sali. Considering ID-01 is half the state, that will only help LaRocco (not to mention whichever Dem ends up on the ticket for ID-01--Larry Grant, Walt Minnick, or Rand Lewis).
So I guess all I can say is, "watch your back, Risch," the liberals are comin' for you.