October 27th, 2008
11:08 PM ET
5 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. Jason

    I am beginning to see a wave of justice that is so prevalent I may have to even say it could possibly go to far in cleansing our democracy. But, in this case, we've waited along time to send a message to others that are corrupt.

    Good for you Alaska! I honestly did not see this coming but you've done well.

    October 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. Susan

    This will not affect the Replublicans. It's only his fault.

    October 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. Brian

    GOOD.

    October 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. Art in California

    This could create an opening for Sarah – problem is she can't run for both positions at once – VP and Senator.

    I can't wait to read the next article where Palin reacts to this verdict.

    October 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. paul (reformed republican)

    What a travesty! Another person entrusted with the public's money and he couldn't keep his fingers out of the cookie jar. Another powerful, wealthy person falling to Greed. What are these people thinking when they do such contemptable things?

    October 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. Roger from CA

    I pumped my fist in the air when I read about the conviction! Great news that another corrupt kingpin is brought down!

    October 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. hurriCAIN PALIN

    the beginning of a democratic america would be a nail in the coffin

    for the superpower of america, nothing to be happy for

    October 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. will

    That will be a really good thing.

    October 27, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. dee

    Sarah Palin "pals" around with convicted felons!!!!

    October 27, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. Informed Voter in FL

    NIce!!!!!!!!

    October 27, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Griff

    Get the fact's. Read the real story, say's CNN... What is the real story CNN? Barack Obama is a Socialist, Fact!... Europe can survive without the USA... Canada is 60% British- 30% French. Europe deal in euro's... Except fot Dizzi-Liz, who still play's Queen. with her Pound... But that can change in a Moment! Well CNN? What is the "REAL" Story.. You do not Qualify as a Dictator...

    October 27, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. Jody Monroe

    Why don't we have term limits? No congress person should be allowed to serve more than 8 or 10 years max. After that time, they become too ingrained in the system to make a difference.

    October 27, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. MissouriMom

    No one NEEDS to be a Senator for 40 years – that is, in itself, a problem.

    It makes it too easy for corrupt men to become corrupt politicians, milking the system for all it is worth. They don't call it the Corrupt Old B*st*rds club for nothing...

    And, shouldn't Palin be next? She did pretty much the same thing as mayor of Wasilla - getting her PERSONAL home built by the same company she "awarded" that Wasilla Sports Center contract to...

    I'm just saying...

    October 27, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. PUMBU

    I have seriously lost respect for McCain, totally, period!!!!!!!!!!! Now they want to kill Obama. Is this America we want? let people decide, don't plant a seed of hatred and race. Don't devide us, lose honorably.

    October 27, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. Lawrence in Denver

    'Just one more seat.'

    It starts with one seat. That one seat will multiply...from a seat, to a lazy boy, to a love seat, to a couch, to a sectional, etc.

    Obama/Biden 08'

    ~Lawrence in Denver

    October 27, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. sp harris

    Congress declared that when federal employees (military and civilian) are convicted of a felony, they forfeit their retirement pension.

    It should work the same way for members of Congress. But does it?

    Can you find out if they created one set of standards for other federal employees and more liberal ones for themselves?

    October 27, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. paul (reformed republican)

    and what needs to happen now???

    He needs to be completely stripped of ALL his federal retirement benefits. He deserves not a single penny more of taxpayer money.

    October 27, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. Notyou

    Good to see one more scumbag hit the floor.

    Roll on the revolution.

    October 27, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. John

    12% say things going well? Ouch. Something's gotta give. And soon. And we all know what it is.

    October 27, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. caroline

    Nuff said Ethan, 60 here we come, and the White House!

    October 27, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. Winnie Hussein . . . in Montana

    Sarah Palin "palled around" with this guy. She ran his PAC and was appointed the oil commission by him. So, did any of his corrupt-ness rub off on her? You betcha!

    October 27, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. Paying Attention

    We are watching and we will be voting soon.......

    I can not wait to vote.

    VOTE VOTE VOTE !!!

    October 27, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  23. Walt

    Okay Democrats, let's see what you can do in the next 4 years. I can guarantee that if there is no corruption in the Democratic Party, if Obama's policies work, if you can Impeach Barney Frank who helped create the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac meltdown, if the Democrats are successful there will be no viable Republican party. I'm a Republican that's voting a solid Democratic ticket for the first time in my life. Prove to me that you're right. Please.

    October 27, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. turning IN blue from Chicago

    Election day isn't coming fast enough!

    ******OBAMA-BIDEN 08******
    FOR THE CHANGE WE NEED

    October 27, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  25. Pennsylvania Voter

    I'm ready for another round of an FDR like atmosphere. 60, here we come !!!!!!

    Obama/Biden 2008-2012
    Election night will be over round 10PM EST

    October 27, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
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