Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

What if Craig Retires?

Posted by Adam Graham on April 8, 2007

That’s the question for Idaho politicos. Rumors swirl of Dan Popkey going around the state trying to dig up dirt on Idaho’s Senior Senator. I doubt there’s anything substantial to the allegations and am about 60% sure Craig will run again, but if he doesn’t, who would I like to see run?

Now, certainly I know who will run. Former Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vaquez will be there and almost certainly Congressman Mike Simpson (R-District 2) can be counted on to make the run. Neither possibility quite excites me. Vasquez lost my support with his tasteless trifecta:

1) Announcing for the US Senate the day after Helen Chenoweth died.
2) Announcing for the US Senate while the 2006 election was in progress.
3) Criticizing the Republican nominee for US House and saying he wouldn’t work with him.

Rep. Mike Simpson is a pork barrel-politician to the core. He was rated tied for 168th for the most fiscally conservative member of the House, which ranked in the lower third among House Republicans.

As neither of these gentlemen excite me, who would I like to see run instead:

First to really annoy liberals:

1) Brandi Swindell

I think Brandi Swindell would make a very interesting candidate for the US Senate because she’s young, she’s controversial, and energetic. It might put some needed spark into a US Senate that could desperately use it. Of course, the liberals wouldn’t like it, the establishment would make it hard for her to get passed the Primary. But, if she did and she won-Wow! It’d drive liberal beserk and give us a true conservative on Capitol Hill.

However, I don’t think she’s running. I don’t have any insider’s knowledge that she might. Just file this under, “Wouldn’t it be nice…”

2) Lt. Governor Jim Risch

The best governor we’ve had since I lived in Idaho, he’d make a good solid choice for Senate. The only problem with Risch is that watch him lead in Boise, he showed himself a born executive and as such, I doubt he’d find sitting around as one of 100 Senators struggling to get things done in a body whose job is to stop things from getting done.

3) Treasurer Ron Crane

I like Ron Crane a lot. Crane is a true Conservative across the board. With an easy race in 2006, his campaign ads talked about traditional marriage, not himself. Crane also has won statewide 3 times, that’s a plus. Will he want to run for a more rough and tumble office?

4) Speaker Lawrence Denney

I’d say he’s gained some notoriety and would have fairly good name recognition among conservatives, though I’d generally much prefer he stay in the House.

5) Senator Russ Fulcher

Why not? He’s got a good record on the issues and is impressing conservatives across the state. Okay, maybe 1 1/2 terms in the legislature is too soon.

Now, let’s be clear that many of these candidates present a unique problem. Both my favorites and Mr. Simpson and Mr. Vasquez. (Note: I couldn’t find Mr. Denney’s age):

Ages in 2008:

Jim Risch: 65
Robert Vasquez: 59

Ron Crane: 59
Mike Simpson: 58
Russ Fulcher: 44
Brandi Swindell: 30

With the obvious exceptions of Fulcher and Swindell, all the candidates are over or close to 60. Were they to be elected to 2 terms in the Senate: Risch, Vasquez, Crane, and Simpson would all pass the 70 mark. What’s remarkable here is that if Senate Craig throws in the towel, he’d be doing so at the age of 63 (barely older than most top contenders.)

What makes Idaho interesting is that with the exceptions of two giants (William E. Borah and Frank Church) no one has served more than 3 terms in the Senate. Craig would be the third Senator to fill out three terms in the Senate. While, none of the four would reasonably be expected to remain in office long enough to gain a great deal of Seniority, Idahoans are used to that. Our Congresspeople with notable exceptions go up there and then come home.

If Simpson should run for Senate, it does become a question as to who takes his place. I won’t speculate that far except to predict the replacement would be a member of the LDS Church (as the district has elected an LDS member every election for nearly 60 years.)

I’m sort of neutral on the idea of a primary and Craig’s retirement. If Craig runs, there’ll be no serious opposition (yes, I know Vasquez will be running, but I said serious opposition.) and with no serious opposition in the general (again emphasis on serious with Larry LaRocco.) As someone who believes in term limits, I think 28 years in Washington is enough for anyone. However, I wouldn’t be unhappy with Craig running and winning another term.

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2 Responses to “What if Craig Retires?”

  1. Alan [Visitor] said

    Oh, please please please let Brandi run for Senate, and please let her win the R primary. Endless fodder for progressive commentators. Even if she actually won the general and became Senator Brandi that’d be a first, eh?) she couldn’t represent my interests any less than Larry Craig.

  2. Adam Graham [Member] said

    Wow, let me go ahead and make that a campaign, liberal blogger says, “Brandi would represent my interests better.” Okay that’d be an indirect quote or an inference. Really, if your candidate is Larry LaRocco and it looks like it will be, Vasquez could win the general election

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