Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig will resign from the Senate amid a furor over his arrest and guilty plea in a police sex sting in an airport men's room, Republican officials said Friday.
Craig will announce at a news conference in Boise Saturday morning that he will resign effective Sept. 30, four state GOP officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Word of the resignation came four days after the disclosure that Craig had pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge arising out of his June 11 arrest during a lewd-conduct investigation at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
The three-term Republican senator had maintained that he did nothing wrong except for making the guilty plea without consulting a lawyer. But he found almost no support among Republicans in his home state or Washington.
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter appeared Friday to have already settled on a successor: Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, according to several Republicans familiar with internal deliberations.
Craig's spokesman, Dan Whiting, had said earlier that the senator would announce his career plans Saturday. The spokesman would not say whether Craig intended to resign.
Craig has been out of public view since Tuesday, when he declared defiantly at a Boise news conference: "I am not gay. I never have been gay." But Republican sources in Idaho said he spent Friday making calls to top party officials, including the governor, gauging their support.
There has been virtually none publicly.
Asked Friday at the White House if the senator should resign, President Bush said nothing and walked off stage.
Republican officeholders and party leaders maintained a steady drumbeat of actions and words aimed at persuading Craig to vacate his Senate seat.
GOP lawmakers, hoping to get the embarrassment to the party behind them quickly, stripped Craig of leadership posts on Wednesday, one day after they called for an investigation of Craig's actions by the Senate Ethics Committee. Craig complied with the request.
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