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Craig may fight to stay in Senate

September 06, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — To the dismay of fellow Republicans, Sen. Larry Craig launched a determined drive Wednesday to save his Senate seat, vowing to stay in office if allowed to withdraw his guilty plea in a men's room sex sting.

Craig's campaign suffered a setback, however, when the Senate ethics committee refused to set aside a complaint lodged against him. "Pending Sen. Craig's resignation, the committee will continue to review this matter," the committee's senior senators wrote.

The decision to deploy his legal team marked a reversal of his pledge to resign on Sept. 30, and raised the possibility of a legal and political struggle, much of it playing out in public.

"I thought he made the correct decision -- the difficult but correct decision to resign" over the weekend, said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky after he and Craig spoke by telephone. "That would still be my view today."

Craig made no public statements during the day, although he met privately in Boise with Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who has the authority to fill any vacancy in the state's Senate delegation.

McConnell said Craig had told him he now intended to remain in Congress if he is permitted to withdraw his guilty plea by Sept. 30. "If he is unable to have that disposed of prior to Sept. 30, it is his intention to resign from the Senate," McConnell said.

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