Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Larry Craig: I Question the Timing

Ace is angry at the timing of Roll Call's expose on Larry Craig:

In this case, the arrest report wasn't leaked earlier when it would have given an Idaho GOP challenger time to suddenly whip up the makings of an insurgent campaign. Instead, it comes far too late for that, making it almost certain Craig will prevail in the primary for lack of a real challenger and then be defeated by a Democratic candidate.

How do these lucky breaks keep accruing to the Democrats?

I have to disagree on this one; it seems to me this was nearly the best time for the GOP.

Think about it this way: rumors about Larry Craig being gay have been pushed to the mainstream media for -- literally -- years. I won't send you to the sites, but there are activists who have been looking for 'proof' so that they could get mainstream outlets to out Craig. The incident in question took place in June, so the earliest it could have been printed was two months ago.

Did this story come too late in the cycle for a challenger to defeat Craig in a primary? The filing deadline is March 8 of next year; the primary itself is in May. If someone wanted to pick off a Senate seat, they would have held off on this story until after the primary filing deadline -- so that Republicans would have been stuck with Craig as a candidate.

And what was the situation before this story broke? Craig had not yet announced whether he would seek re-election, and candidates like Lt. Gov. Jim Risch were eagerly awaiting his decision while laying groundwork for a bid. Now those candidates have effectively received a go ahead to make the race. If anything, they get an earlier start than they otherwise would have.

As it is now, Larry LaRocco is the strongest Democratic candidate. But as Stu Rothenberg points out, neither he nor any other Democrat is likely to be a serious challenge:

Republican Sen. Larry Craig’s status for 2008 has been a question mark, even before Roll Call broke the recent news of his June arrest. Craig had yet to give the NRSC an official, or even unofficial, heads up about whether he would seek a fourth term. And he showed a less than intimidating $549,000 in campaign cash through the end of June. Now, for a senator previously undecided about running again, the recent developments increase the possibility of an open seat in Idaho...

In a potential preview of next November, Risch and LaRocco squared off statewide less than a year ago in the 2006 race for lieutenant governor, with Risch winning convincingly 58%-30%.

The rumors that liberals and Democrats were spreading about Craig before this arrest were disgusting and over the line. But in this case, the timing of this story is helpful to the GOP, not a handicap.

As to the lack of attention to the Peter Paul story, I am in full agreement.

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