Craig: I won't resign after all

The senator says he'll stay in office until his term ends in 2009.

Published October 4, 2007 8:11PM (EDT)

Sen. Larry Craig, who announced last month that he intended to resign Sept. 30, then said that he'd stay in office pending the legal proceedings he's initiated, now says that he's going to remain in the Senate until the end of his term in January 2009.

The latest statement from Craig, posted minutes ago on his Senate Web site, comes on the same day that a judge in Minnesota rejected Craig's request to withdraw his guilty plea in the Minneapolis airport men's room incident.

Craig says he's "extremely disappointed" by the judge's ruling because -- despite the fact that he pleaded guilty to them -- "I am innocent of the charges against me."

Craig says he's going to "continue to explore" his "additional legal options" and that he's going to "continue to serve Idaho in the United States Senate."

"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," he says. "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."

What Craig doesn't say: At the demand of the GOP Senate leadership, Craig has relinquished all those committee posts.

No word yet from the Senate leadership, which would be hard-pressed to backpedal on Craig now after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell previously declared Craig's conduct "unforgivable."

Craig? He seems to consider the case closed. "When my term has expired, I will retire and not seek reelection," he says. Then, in what seems to be a swipe at Idaho Republicans who have complained that his case has left them hanging, Craig says: "I hope this provides the certainty Idaho needs and deserves."

Correction: Craig relinquished his Republican leadership positions on the committees but remains a rank-and-file member of them.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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