I'm not surprised at this ruling. The question is, will he actually step down or sit in front of the kleig lights at a Senate hearing.

A Minnesota judge on Thursday rejected Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's bid to withdraw his guilty plea in an airport sex sting, a major setback in Craig's effort to clear his name and hang on to his Senate seat.

“Because the defendant's plea was accurate, voluntary and intelligent, and because the conviction is supported by the evidence … the defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea is denied,” Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter wrote.

Craig, a Republican, can appeal Porter's ruling. But it wasn't immediately clear if he would. Telephone calls and e-mails seeking comment from Craig spokesmen Sid Smith in Boise and Dan Whiting in Washington, D.C. weren't immediately returned.

When the charges first surfaced, Craig said he would resign by Sept. 30. But then he decided to attempt to re-open his legal case, and said he would stay at least until he found out whether he could withdraw his plea to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

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UPDATE: As folks have noted in the comments, Craig is the gift that keeps on giving. He will not resign. Now all we have to do is pop the popcorn and see if Mitch McConnell is going to hold some juicy toe-tapping hypocrisy hearings.

The ethics committee has already signaled it is reviewing the facts of Craig’s case, taking the step after the Senate Republican leadership requested it. Craig’s decision to stay and fight raises the strong possibility of public hearings — virtually certain to be televised live — centered on the issue of gay sex.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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