Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Busted

The circumstances surrounding the arrest of District 10 State Senator John McGee (R-Caldwell) would be almost comical in a Hangover kind of way if these weren't very serious charges of DUI and grand theft.

McGee began drinking at a golf course at about 10 p.m. Saturday night. At some point, McGee left the clubhouse on foot and walked for a distance, eventually coming upon a parked Ford Excursion with a 20-foot travel trailer near the Muir Woods Subdivision in Southeast Boise.

The keys were in the vehicle and McGee drove away just before 3 a.m. Sunday. McGee pulled the vehicle into a long driveway in the subdivision near Overland and Victory roads and Five Mile Road, in an attempt to turn around. The Excursion and travel trailer were jack-knifed in the driveway.

Two kids in the house were watching McGee's activities. He exited the vehicle, walked up and down the street a few times, got in the back of the Excursion and went to sleep. The kids called police.

No BAC info yet, or any detail regarding the reason for the grand theft charge, which is presumably for the taking of a rig not his own. Certainly his "intent" will be central to his defense. One thing for sure, the details are titillating, yet nebulous, enough for this story to have major legs until everyone's curiosity becomes satisfied.

McGee is a rising star in Republican ranks.

Senator McGee currently serves as the Majority Caucus Chairman, the number four leadership position in the Idaho Senate. Most recently, McGee spent two terms as Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and also chaired the Treasure Valley Transportation Task Force. During his first term, McGee successfully carried the largest transportation funding bill in Idaho history. He also sits on the powerful State Affairs and Local Government and Taxation Committees. Senator McGee has also served on the Senate Agriculture and Health and Welfare Committees. McGee was elected by his peers to serve on the important Legislative Council and was named the 2006 Idaho State Republican Legislator of the Year. McGee was named a Council of State Governments Toll Fellow in 2007.

Senator McGee is active in his community as the Chairman of the Canyon County Republican Party Central Committee and served on the Board of Directors of the 2009 International Special Olympics. McGee is a member of the Caldwell Rotary Club and is the Chairman of the Regional Substance Abuse Authority Legislative Committee. Senator McGee serves his alma mater, the College of Idaho, as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Senator McGee has received many awards from local and state organizations, including the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Agriculture Educators, the Idaho Agricultural All Star Award (2005-2009), the COMPASS Leadership in Motion Award, the 2009 Transportation Leader of the Year from Treasure Valley Women in Transportation, and the Friend of Community Healthcare Centers by the Idaho Primary Care Association.

I'mathinkin' his Chairmanship of the Regional Substance Abuse Authority Legislative Committee should be toast after this arrest. Despite his voter base in deep red Canyon County, McGee was considered a moderate. He chaired the Senate Transportation Committee and served on the Governor's Transportation Task Force, whose gas tax hike recommendation went down in flames. Reading the conservative writing on the wall, McGee refused to buck his party on Education Deform, proving to be a crucial vote in passing the controversial measure 20-15 with bipartisan opposition. Still he is considered a rational member of the Republican party. He may keep his seat, but he'll not likely continue ascending the leadership ladder.

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Thanks Sis

I added you observations to the comments under my Daily Kos blog. It appears we'll be writing about this one for a while.

The BAC is in

"McGee was transported to the Ada County Jail where he was booked on charges of driving under the influence and grand theft. He registered a BAC of .15 on a breath test."

just took a wrong turn

That would be the one of the key in the ignition. If he'd just curled up for a nap on the front seat, no sheriffs involved, no orange jumpsuit, no story in the newspaper.

I guess the best possible story is that something horrible happened in his life prompting an otherwise sober and upstanding guy to go to the golf course and have way too much to drink (hello, A Golf Course? I need to speak to the person who was tending bar Saturday night) and then with really seriously impaired judgment doesn't realize he's not in his Ford Excursion with a 20-foot travel trailer, 'cause he always leave his keys in the ignition too, and, well, it's actually pretty tough to drive at 0.15% BAC.

Follow up

Idaho is world famous, again!

Move over Larry Craig.

McGee's arrest story goes viral, and international

Kevin Richert writes:

State Sen. John McGee hasn't been heard from yet; his initial court appearance isn't scheduled until this afternoon.

But the story of the Caldwell Republican's bizarre arrest on misdemeanor drunken-driving and felony grand theft charges has long since gone viral on the Internet — and international.

London's Daily Mail jumped across the pond to write about McGee. In a sidebar — under the headline, "When Will All These Lawmakers Learn?" — the Daily Mail likened McGee to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., who resigned amidst a Twitter photo scandal.