Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, who pleaded guilty Friday to drunken driving, says he’s swearing off alcohol and only began drinking last year to relieve on-the-job stress.
The Mormon senator told reporters he was drinking once or twice a week, and always alone in his Washington D.C. apartment, reports the Idaho Statesman
. He was pulled over early in the morning on Dec. 23, and he says that was the first time he ever drove after drinking. Crapo said he’d had “two to three” vodka tonics, and went for a drive because he couldn’t get to sleep.
“I was drinking alone at my home and I got into my car alone,” he said. “I never got out of my car and I was not going to meet anybody. It was simply a drive of frustration. I couldn’t get to sleep and I made the very poor choice that I would go out and go for a drive.”
Crapo said he didn’t know he was impaired until he started driving, and had been turning to go home when the officer pulled him over.
The senator said his family and staff didn’t know he’d been drinking secretly, and he’d made “a very poor choice” in dealing with his stress. Crapo plans to run for re-election in 2016, and hopes to regain his constituents’ trust.
He denied earlier reports that he was drinking straight shots of vodka, insisting he’d mixed it with tonic water.
Crapo also blamed being alone so close to Christmas for his decision to drink that night. His wife, Susan, stayed behind in Idaho to raise their five children after he was first elected to the U.S. House back in 1992. He was elected to the Senate in 1999, and lives in Washington when Congress is in session.
He said he’s also apologized to his family and has their support and encouragement, and noted he and his wife have a strong marriage and love each other.
Crapo said he believes he would have stopped drinking, even if he hadn’t been arrested. He admits it goes against his Mormon faith.
“I was already thinking in my own mind that this had to end,” he said. “I don't know how to give you a timetable answer to that, but I believe in my heart that I had already recognized that I was on a bad path and that I needed to find a different path to follow.”
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