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. JimS.

    I'm almost starting to feel sorry for the Republicans. Almost, but not quite. McCain's selection of Palin as a running mate all the while touting "change", and their right-wing base screaming "socialist" and calling for even more draconian policies, proves neither the party nor the base has learned anything. Maybe they never will.

    October 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. Willa-Pa

    Get rid of the bums...next Palin, Bush and Cheney...

    October 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  3. DAVE

    ONE more repube down the tube! Lets hear Palin talk her way out of this mess. 60! YES 60! Its now my favorite number..
    OBAMA! we want you, we need you.

    October 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Vote4Obama

    I wanted to comment on Sarah Palin and for her to even mention Stevens is quit ironic considering she has made her own mistakes to include abuse of power – I'm from Alaska and as an Alaskan I will not vote for anyone that has demonstrated a lack of character and has placed themselves above the law and the ethics oath that each one of them has raised their hand to and then chose to do what ever they wanted instead of doing the very best they could while serving the PEOPLE.....

    No to Palin, not in '08, not in '12 or any time!

    No to Stevens, he has served his time, NOW is the time for a New Presence in Washington to represent Alaska!

    October 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. AA

    Bye.

    Now let's see how far the RNC rabbit hole really goes.

    Drill baby drill.

    Peace.

    October 27, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. nadeem

    Corruption, Palin used the same firm to renovate there house – and guess what she can't find the receipts either. Just another corrupt pol from Alaska.

    October 27, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. Nick B, Watertown SD

    Why are there no term limits for lod codgers like Stevens

    October 27, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. Bud

    I see Sarah Palin wasted no time throwing her protege under the bus.

    October 27, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. Please

    And America one inch closer to destruction.

    October 27, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. mark

    I think it's funny how palin blames the oil companys for the corruption in AK, and then she says that she will open up anwr to the oil companys to drill for more oil. So that AK can get more money from them.

    October 27, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. Tomkat

    Bush, The Criminal, will give a Presidential Pardon for this criminal too. Mark my words....

    October 27, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. Tom

    Spread the wealth?

    Slaves can not own anything. Now we will all be slaves working for the government. I for one am looking foward to working for Obama, Reid and Panoski. NOT!

    What fools you Obama voters are!

    October 27, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. KCBob

    GOP Rotten to the core.

    October 27, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. The Edge, Macon, GA

    Ain't it a shame!!!! Sorry, no more special treatment for Uncle Ted. I hope this old Repugnant saves the cell for next door for his good buddy "First Dude" . His and Caribou Sarah's home was also improved on the cheap......

    October 27, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  15. Joe C

    "Steven's" is a typo. Should be " Stevens's " or " Stevens' " depending on which style guide CNN uses.

    October 27, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Michael - NC

    Goodbye to bad garbage.

    October 27, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. INDEPENDENT

    JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE THAT THE REPUBLICAN RIGHT WING CORRUPTION IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL.

    WE MUST STOP THE RIGHT WING NEO CON'S.

    OBAMA 08

    October 27, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  18. Ms Pook

    Isn't it interesting that nothing happens to the democrat Senator William Jefferson who had $90,000 hide in his freezer and still get to run for another term. Just goes to show you there is a double standard in politics.

    October 27, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  19. jimmy bob

    60 seats here we come!!!

    October 27, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. GARY

    OBAMA IS A FLIP FLOPPING DICK. HIS NAIVE SUPPORTERS ARE JUST HATERS. THEY CARE NOTHING FOR THEIR COUNTRY JUST THE BS. THAT THEIR CANIDATE TELLS THEM

    October 27, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  21. Darcy in Portland

    This doesn't say much for Alaskan voters, they are also the ones to elect Gov. Palin. Thick as thieves the GOP is.

    October 27, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. Shane ~ Colorado

    When it rains ... it pours!

    October 27, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. No McCain

    People now we all know what they mean with "Country First".

    1) It means: Building their countryside cabin and renovating it first
    2) It means filling their own wallets first with bribes and our tax money

    Good News is: ON NOVEMBER 4t WE WILL TAKE OUR CONTRY BACK -– YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!

    October 27, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. Dan from Philly

    Another dirty Alaskan Republican. Will wonders never cease?

    October 27, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. AB

    Typical Retread – getting his hand caught in the cookie jar!

    Time to get rid of all RETREADS!

    Go Obama!

    October 27, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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