I know I'm getting way ahead of the curve on elections, but I'm thinking today about Idaho's 2010 Senate race.
Will Mike Crapo's words — unconditionally in support of beleaguered colleague Larry Craig — come back to bite him?
Crapo has tied some of his own reputation to Craig, who has angered and alienated many Idahoans by trying to keep his disorderly conduct guilty plea secret, and then, once the news broke, reneging on his intent to resign.
Throughout, Crapo has stood by his senior colleague.
Consider this quote from Sept. 26, after Craig's legal team went to a Minnesota court to fight the senator's guilty plea: "Senator Craig has demonstrated outstanding leadership and tireless service to the state of Idaho for nearly three decades. Idahoans deserve to continue to benefit from Senator Craig’s experience and expertise."
And consider what Crapo told style="text-decoration:underline;">our Dan Popkey last week, after Craig announced his plans to serve out his term. "I support Larry in his decision. He has every right, like all of us do, to pursue his legal defense against these charges. I'm fully supportive of him continuing to do that and I look forward to working with him in the Senate while he pursues his defense of the case."
Crapo, first elected the U.S. Senate in 1998, has long deferred to Craig's experience and senior status. But is he taking it too far? To quote style="text-decoration:underline;"> waggish Boise political blogger Dave Frazier, who has taken to refer to Crapo as "Junior," "A noncommittal statement is one thing, but to EMBRACE (pun intended) a guy who admits guilt and can’t get his story straight — even to the public — is another thing."
In 2004, Crapo ran unopposed for a second term — a sign of his popularity, and a signal of the daunting odds facing anyone who wants to try to take out a sitting senator with a ready supply of campaign dollars and the backing of the state's Republican Party. And of course, 2010 is a long way away, allowing the ever-unfolding Craig fiasco ample time to play out. But it wouldn't surprise me to see Crapo opposed by someone who tries to capitalize on voter disenchantment over Craig.