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)

    Please america send the Todd and Sarah back to there igloo.

    October 27, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Winnie Hussein . . . in Montana

    Sad day for her, maybe. Maybe she'll get caught up in this wave of prosecuting corruption. That would be great!

    Sarah, you should be very ashamed of yourself. It is because of you and your divisive and hateful rallies that two young men believed they could and should kill Sen. Obama. Have you no morals? By fostering that type of behaviour, you are not a Christian, or at least not the kind I want to sit next to in church, and you are the root of the problem. You have never once admonished your supporters to behave with civility.

    If you don't believe me, you can check out your "real American" supporters on youtube. Disgusting stuff.

    October 27, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. Natasha in tally

    First Ted and now Sarah. The same company that Ted is linked too is also accussed of giving the good Governor free work also. Bye Sarah.
    Obama 08

    October 27, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Grammar Police

    Hey CNN writers.... possessive here would Stevens', not Steven's. C'mon now.

    October 27, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. jojo


    October 27, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Carlos Marrero

    Another one bites the dust... and another one ... and another one... Washington needs as much house cleaning as Wall Street does.

    October 27, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. Hmmmm

    Born and raised in Alaska, I voted for Stevens once, then never again. He always had a bad temper, but he wasn't corrupt once upon a time ago. This is the lamentable result of the baleful influence of big oil in Alaska and the GOP alliance with a corporate culture of special interests throughout the nation.

    October 27, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Amber

    One down. 9 to go.

    October 27, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. KLEE

    You know, sometimes, I don't think anyone knows whats going to happen! Lots of noise and chest beating – What its going to take is intelligence, fortitude, sacrifice, honesty (good luck on this one), What are people really saying and is anybody really listening??

    October 27, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  10. Larry

    IF Stevens were a Democrat he wouldn't have any problems at all being reelected,but because he's a Republican,he DOES have a problem,you see Republicans DO have morals and ethics,and don't just ignore bad judgment.I wish everybody was a Republican,the world would be a better place.

    October 27, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  11. Swandawg

    "Just one more seat?" The postmortems will start to pour in with continued regularity this week as Republicans begin to look to 2010 and 2012. This story ads to that theme and may prove pivotal to Democrats reaching 60.

    October 27, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. Barbara from Canada

    One seat at a time!!

    I watched Barrack's speech today – this afternoon actually, and still have goosebumps!

    I'm old enough to have watched many elections

    I was angered by the infamous "girl, daisy & bomb" fear mongering ad of Lynden Johnson

    I cried over the deaths of American greats

    I lived and worried in California durijng the Cuban Crisis..

    and now.... today... I heard -

    Go Obama/Biden

    October 27, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. John Hussein Shuler

    So we'll have at least 2 years to get the country headed in the right direction again...

    October 27, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. Cynthia; Bham

    Didn't Sarah Palin get some free stuff done at her house as well. Wonder what we will hear about this in the coming months.

    October 27, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. arvind

    It's time for change! Give the Repubs the heave-ho.

    October 27, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Seinfeild


    October 27, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. Simmy

    Another democratic seat! God is Good! Life is good! OB08Plus!

    October 27, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  18. railaobama

    Am certain that Dems will capture the magic number of seat .

    Go Obama/Biden Go–

    What tis time has come cannot be stopped.

    October 27, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  19. Tom

    Good now that the Dems have 60 seats now you can keep $60.00 a year after they rape you with taxes.

    October 27, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  20. Zach

    I am not so sure having the Dems in full control is a good idea.

    October 27, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  21. Darrell

    Can hardly wait for the legal system to get on to what Palin did to mess up the Alaskan Pipeline Project that won't happen for ten or more years.Seems like Walt Monegan is the honest one in the troopergate which was conviently re named by McCain team to taser gate.It amazes me with all the corruption and abuse of power by Todd and Sarah they have et to be charged.Just wait for the truth about the negotiations and who finally was awarded the contract in the pipeline project.It will be tied up in courts for years due to Palins abuse of power

    October 27, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. carol

    why can a convicted felon run for the senate; but cannot vote?

    October 27, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Carl from MI

    Another name to add to the list of the Republican 'Culture of Corruption' that will be leaving office with the Bush Administration.

    Our nation will be much better without those thugs... time to make our nation great again and remove every shred of the 'Culture of Curruption' Republicans have left behind. I'll miss Tom DeLay the most.... NOT!!!!


    October 27, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  24. s

    And immediately Palin comes out saying she was elected to fight this corruption. Duh...after she was found to have violated AK state ethics law too! This lady is not just a hypocrite but also surreal. Yet look at all those folks out there cheering her on. As Peggy Noonan said, she is a cancer to her party. Yeh, well then what is she to the US?

    October 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  25. Nick B, Watertown SD

    Says a lot about the republican party and Alaska when they'll consider reelecting a corrupt old codger like Stevens.

    October 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
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