October 27th, 2008
11:08 PM ET
10 years ago

Stevens verdict likely to inch Dems closer to 'magic 60'

The Stevens verdict is another setback for the GOP.

The Stevens verdict is another setback for the GOP.

(CNN) - Ted Steven's guilty verdict Monday afternoon could mean the end of the Alaska lawmaker's 40-year tenure in the Senate and serve to inch the already emboldened Democratic Party closer to 60 seats in the Senate, recent polls of the Alaska race suggest.

In an Ivan Moore Research poll of the Alaska Senate race conducted earlier this month, entirely before the verdict was handed down, Stevens and Democratic challenger Mark Begich were statistically tied. Several other recent surveys have also suggested the race is neck-and-neck.

But the prospect of Stevens, first elected to the Senate in 1968, facing a tough reelection race was unthinkable only a few months ago. After all, the last Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Alaska is former presidential candidate Mike Gravel. Gravel served two terms, from 1969 to 1981, before embarking on his unsuccessful presidential bid 26 years later. Stevens is also an icon in the state, responsible (and now infamous) for securing billions of federal dollars for the state, including the ill-fated "bridge to nowhere."

But Steven's reelection hopes now appear increasingly slim in what is a boost to Democrats seeking to reach the filibuster-proof 60 seat majority.  It's also too late for the GOP to replace Stevens on the ballot with a different candidate - that deadline passed more than six weeks ago and the ballots have already been printed.

“This race was a dead heat before Stevens was convicted,” said CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. "The Democrats are now most likely one step closer to a filibuster-proof majority of 60 Senate seats next January.”

Meanwhile, asked if there is likely to be any national political impact of the Stevens verdict, a prominent Republican strategist close to the McCain campaign said, "Just one more seat."

"It can't really impact a national environment where 12 percent say things going well," the strategist told CNN's John King.

Filed under: Extra • John McCain • Republicans • Senate
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. Ethan

    "Just one more seat."

    And then another, and another. 60 here we come!

    October 27, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |

    There does seem to be an infestation of crooked reptiles in the Reptiilian party speaking with forked tongues, or is that talking in tongues?

    Just like Larry Craig who we now know must have been “tapping” out Broadway show tunes in that bathroom stall to garner the attention of the cute young cop in the next stall!

    October 27, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  3. Turnabout is fair play

    Now if only we could do something about Larry Craig..

    October 27, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. jason, tx

    Go Dems!

    October 27, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. willis pdx

    Time to put the Gop where it truly belongs: In the garbage

    October 27, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. Lee from FL

    and there i was thinking that republicans were safe up in Alaska

    October 27, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  7. vw

    He is just the victim of political fighting, same as Hillary, a victim of race card.

    October 27, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. I Just Said Thanks, but No Thanks to Another 4 Years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    More Republican Alaska Old Boy Corruption.
    But wait a moment, who did Palin support?
    Oh yeah, Senator Stevens.
    But, didn't she take on the old boy network, at least, that's what she said.

    Palin is a product, being hawked to the red state right wingers and they are buying the myth.

    Next thing they'll tell you that Jesus spoke to Palin directly and told her to run for President in 2012.

    October 27, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. Griff

    If your Guilty Mr... Tell the truth! I know just OJ Simpson... You were chosen for the fall... Be a man, and build a better world...

    October 27, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. Joseph Adewole

    Someone has to investigate the real financier of McCain's Wine Cellar; it could be another big oil company....one wonders why McCain prefer to fight for them (Big Oil Companies) to ordinary hard working Americans in Ohio and North Carolina

    October 27, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  11. James

    Next up .....Palin , Bush , Cheney , Rove.

    October 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  12. A recovering Republican

    Another long serving corrupt republican goes down; Palin off message; her aides saying they don't like how the McCain campaign is handling her, so she is off on her own (what if she got elected???), McCain running a disasterous campaign; what a sorry state the Repubs are in.

    10 years sober

    October 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Lynn in NM

    NO big deal. The media has annointed the Democrats to rule the US. There is no need for an election. I expect there to be no Republicans in the Senate or House after this election (even though they aren't all up for reelection). After all, the media rules the world!

    October 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. tee

    Good get him out of there!!!!!!!

    October 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. Josh In North Carolina

    ssignature accomplishment a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 — emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, an AP investigation shows.Corruption?

    October 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. Dan, TX

    There is a good chance he'll still win his seat. After all, Alaskans elected Palin Governor. Why would a felony conviction keep them from electing Stevens?

    October 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. J.L.

    Getting just what he deserves. If there is a good example of power in Washington corrupting you when you've there too long, Senator Stevens was the poster child. He didn't think he needed to play by the rules of us regular folks. Special set of rules for special people. And that "Bridge to Nowhere" that Sarah Palin was hammered about since she became McCain's running mate, that's Stevens' little pet project. Didn't even want to let it go and free up the money to help with the after-effects of Katrina. He just got angry like a spoiled little kid... yeah, this is one of the elder statesman of the party touting "Country First"...

    October 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  18. Red, Red WHINE!!

    Ok, I've had my fun with this Stevens headline. But in all honesty, we can't really blame Mr. Stevens. It's a matter of peer pressure. We have to lay the blame at the feet of his fellow republicans who set the standard and expectations so low, on a daily basis. We have to blame ourselves for voting for any republican, and allowing them to feel its ok to be immoral, corrupt, selfish and incompetent.

    We have to be the judge in this one, we must deliver the sentence for this one. We need not deliver the sentence on a man that is over 80 years old, we must sentence the entire GOP instead. We must not vote for a single one of them, not until they clean their act up and start working FOR us rather then AGAINST us!

    Vote Dem's across the board, let that be the punishment. Let them read their sentence in a sweeping rush of democratic victories across the nation. It's time for change. As Obama say's, from the bottom up...and in this case, that means EVERY republican out there..from the BOTTOM UP, must be sentenced to defeat by US...the voters!

    October 27, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. S. Pellchek

    It's not "Steven's", it's "Stevens'"

    October 27, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. Tom in New Hope, MN

    The Republican way is really paying off for them! This is just another reason we need to change Washington. We need term limits in congress because power corrupts! Vote wisely!

    October 27, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Gene

    It's funny how Republicans are warning people of the dangers of a senate which cannot be filibustered... they say it's like driving a car with no breaks.

    Well, first I think it's funny that they refer to themselves as "the breaks"... which is very fitting.

    Second.. they're basically saying that they want to keep a senate that will not be able to actually achieve anything. They actually want a senate with nothing but gridlock.. so later they can blame a senate with a democratic majority (of 1 vote) for not getting things done.

    October 27, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. mitch

    wooohooo! we need a mandate to enact barack's changes! vote democrat up and down the ticket!

    October 27, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. will

    I just think God for getting rid of such an evil.

    October 27, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. Kimmie

    Politicians without accountability – steal OUR liberties.

    AGAIN the call goes out: "Give me liberty – or give me death"

    October 27, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  25. McCain/Palin

    Ethan (6:17)

    Go put on your sandals and go hug a tree!

    October 27, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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