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

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

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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. Phil Newton from Murphy, Oregon

    Now we can ask about Palin's "Road to Nowhere."

    Well. Not nowhere, exactly. She had a road built to Stevens's house.

    At TAXPAYER EXPENSE.

    What about that, my friend?

    October 27, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. bill pike

    bush, keaton, rove, iraq,economy,mcshame,power. what can i say.

    October 27, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. The Truth

    Nice!
    Jerks like this diminish us all.

    October 27, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. jan48

    I have a of comments first I think that maybe why Palin won't release her medical records is because they will show that her young son is really her grandson .

    October 27, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Oh happy day !!!! Catch every one of the crooks – Republicans and Democrats. Throw the book at them and let their names be known.

    Same treatment for ALL lawbreakers.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 27, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. Daniel Flores

    This is disgraceful. This is where our politics is at? Thats why I'm voting Obama this time, these Republicans have been so corrupted by big companies. I'm sick of it....

    October 27, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Robert

    When it rains, it pours!

    October 27, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  8. Tom Berry

    Just what people who think the Republicans have some kind of moral high ground need to think about.

    October 27, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  9. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW

    HEY OBAMA SUPPORTERS,

    I REALIZE NOTHING ANYONE SAYS IS GOING TO CHANGE YOUR MINDS ABOUT OBAMA BUT DOES IT BOTHER YOU AT ALL THAT THIS MAN HAS SO MANY SKELETONS IN HIS CLOSET.

    HOW CAN YOU TRUST OBAMA.

    I GUEST THE OBAMA SUPPORTERS THINK ALL THIS INFORMATION IS FALSE.

    WOW TALK ABOUT FANTASY LAND!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 27, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. conny

    you betcha!

    October 27, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. Michael in Seattle

    I wish they would do a map to show how the race for the senate is looking.

    October 27, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  12. Gerry,NH

    I hear that Stevens has plenty of grounds to appeal the trial but I do hope this knocks him out of the race. Good riddance as far as I am concerned. I would be curious what would happen if Alaskans reelect him. That state is so corrupt, it would not surprise me.

    October 27, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  13. PUMBU

    Palin and McCain are stiring hate and racism and cause some conservative lunatics to plot killing Obama. You see what you are seeding Palin? Hate, lose honorably stop being dumb and induce fear and hatred. America, you decide, fear, division, race and hate or hope and prosperity. I respect Obama, too smart fella for Mcain and Palin!!!!!!!!!!

    October 27, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. Proud to be American

    Time to tell the crooks no more.... we will not take them not doing right by the American people!

    October 27, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  15. Darrell

    Well one Alaskan Republican down now its Palin's turn. After all it seems that the Republican Party has a trust issue in Alaska. Wow Palin and TrooperGate ans now the Pipe line bidding issues it won't be too much longer before she falls too.

    Great Choice MCBUSH

    October 27, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. alaskan ethics

    I would love to hear what gov.palin has to say about her buddy. Good old fashion alaskan ethics at its best! Palin is a joke and stevens is a joke. I cant wait til america sends this dummy back to alaska and i bet she wont be the gov. of alaska much longer.

    October 27, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. Obama-Biden '08

    Bye Bye Republicans!

    October 27, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Splurge

    Love to see another repug taken down but I dread the day democrats get full control of majority. Just look at what they've done with near that in the last two years.

    October 27, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    THE LAW IS THE LAW IS THE LAW.
    JUST BECAUSE ONE THINKS THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW DOESN'T
    HOLD TRUE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THOSE WHO ARE FOUND TO BE GUILTY SHOULD PAY THE SAME PRICE EVEN IF THEY ARE A POLITICIAN.

    October 27, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Artie

    Typical Alaska politician......they are from a different world it seems..Good news for Dems...inless Alaskans are 100% nuts, Stevens will lose...although..they DID elect Palin..so who knows??

    October 27, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. supradeepnarayana

    Looks like – going , going , gone!!!!

    October 27, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. HN

    Purging of the republican party willl be complete on 4th Nov.

    October 27, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. Beverlee (WI)

    "I'm not a CROOK"!
    LANDSLIDE IS ALL I CAN SAY!
    GO DEMS!

    October 27, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. Beverly, NYC

    End the drama vote Obama. You republicans should take the next 4 years off, rebuild your party, come up with viable plans for governing and let the democrats handle things.

    One down two more to go? Remember the only poll that matters is Nov 4th make it a short night for the Fox crowd. I hope Sean Hannity cries like the B that he is.

    October 27, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. Billy

    Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary McCain campaign script attacking Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents.

    Williams' daughter told her that up to 40 of her co-workers had refused to read the script, and had left the call center after supervisors told them that they would have to either read the call or leave, Williams says.

    "They walked out," Williams says of her daughter and her co-workers, adding that they weren't fired but willingly sacrificed pay rather than read the lines. "They were told [by supervisors], `If you all leave, you're not gonna get paid for the rest of the day."

    October 27, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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