Could Sen. McGee's arrests affect his political career?

Could Sen. McGee's arrests affect his political career?

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by Nishi Gupta

KTVB.COM

Posted on June 19, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 20 at 4:45 PM

BOISE -- Senator John McGee's political career has rapidly grown in the last few years.
  
At 38-years-old, he's now serving his fourth term in the State Senate.
  
His name has even been thrown around as a possible candidate for Congress. But with his Sunday arrest for driving under the influence and grand theft, some are looking at the impact on his political future?
  
Political leaders and experts have been watching McGee since he entered Idaho's political scene and have been impressed by what they've seen.

He has been called a rising star but those KTVB spoke to Sunday said this arrest could be bad news for his career.

Although McGee is young, he's a veteran at the Idaho Capitol. Now in his fourth term, he's been building his resume on powerful committees. 

"For his second and his third term, he was the chair of the transportation committee and one of the most articulate and visible spokesmen on transportation issues," said KTVB political analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby.

Now, McGee is the chair of the Republican Caucus -- the fourth highest ranking Republican in the Senate.

Weatherby said McGee's track record led others to believe a higher office was in his future.

"There were a lot of people speculating in this last election cycle that he would be a candidate for Congress," Weatherby said.

As other Republican leaders learned of McGee's arrest, their reactions were of complete surprise.

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill called McGee Sunday, but wasn't able to reach him.

"Certainly this is a trying situation for not only Senator McGee but for his family as well and we wanted them to know we are concerned for them," Hill said.

As the number one Republican on the Senate, Senator Hill says it's uncertain what damage this will do to McGee - his friend and colleague.
 
"He's a man of great ideas, much energy and enthusiasm and really has a good heart to try to do the right thing," Hill said. "Whether this has political ramifications for the future and for his future I think is way too early to tell. We're still waiting for the circumstances to unfold. Certainly none of has had a chance to visit with Senator McGee to find out how this transpired from his point of view."

Could McGee have to answer to the Legislature? He chairs the Republican Caucus and if members of that caucus wanted to evaluate the situation and whether McGee should remain their leader, the caucus could re-convene.

Weatherby said the Ethics Committee may also want to investigate the allegations. But of course, it is too early to tell if either of those will happen.

Weatherby adds that other Idaho legislators who have been arrested on DUIs in the past have continued to serve at the Capitol.

Senator McGee is serving a two-year term. He is up for re-election in 2012.
 

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