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. Griff

    CNN is older than everyone. Centuries. None Negociable....

    Sadam Inc.... Why did the USA attack Syria??? You'r on the Spot... America. The rest of the World is waiting for your response...
    Obama is a Change-Coat.

    October 27, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. wj

    It is suprising that the race is tied> I mean what do you have to do these days. We hold these folks to a different set of standards, yet when they abuse or neglect those standards, we cuddle them and say that's ok!

    With all that is going on in the political enviroment these days, I hope people will be a bit more concious of the implications of such arrogance.
    Unless of course, he spread the wealth around to all Alaskans?

    October 27, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. Tom

    What fools the news media like CNN are for not telling the truth about Obama and the Dems. They are leftists and shame on you CNN for selling this guy.

    Yes you have done nothing but push Obama and shame on you. America will suffer greatly for Obama so shame on you CNN

    October 27, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. Send Palin home

    Sarah's next.

    October 27, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. KS

    What is truely amazing is how long he got by with it. Also don't overlook who was the Executive Director of Stevens PAC. It was non other than Sarah Palin. America this is the sort of Executive experience Palin will bring to Washington.

    October 27, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. Lamar

    This is another example of the liberal bias in juries. And of course the liberal media would report the story. Where's the balance? We need stories of liberal officeholders who may be convicted of crimes in the near future.

    October 27, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  7. Dan from Philly

    Palin said it was a sad day for Alaska. Why is it a sad day when a crook is convicted of a crime he committed. Sounds like a pretty good day for Alaska to me!

    October 27, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. Craig - Hastings, MN

    Couldn't happen to a more deserving sole. I detest corrupt, lying, bought and paid for types like Stevens. I hope the judge throws the book at this shining example of all that is bad about American politics.

    October 27, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. sparky

    Just another greedy corrupt Republican going down

    October 27, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  10. alaskan ethics

    if i see one more bogus story on unimportant "ACORN" i swear i will never watch cnn again... your bias is shining through. why dont you go find a real story.

    October 27, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Nancy

    And then the Republican fell from grace, just not gracefully! Ugliness always rears it's ugly head – oh wait, that John and Sarah! Yoooou Becha!

    October 27, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. mark in az

    Wow. Sarah palled around with a convicted felon. Guess we won't be hearing about Ayers anymore!

    October 27, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. Unshrub

    Wait until Palin is elected VP, she want's to parden him.

    October 27, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. HouseDiva

    cnn has a problem with the truth

    October 27, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  15. Rorschach

    Has anyone researched the possibility that 2008 may be the year of the straight-ticket voter?

    All my life, and I'm 52, I never voted straight ticket – until 2006. That was my first straight-Dem ballot and I cast that vote because I really believed it was time for the Republicans to not only take a break, but remember who they're supposed to be working for.

    Voted straight Dem again this year. I wonder if that's happening much across the country, with the general dissatisfaction with GOP policy and the financial meltdown?

    October 27, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  16. Jim

    If the Republican party does not get it together REAL Quick the Dems will have a FULL 100 seats in the Senate.

    October 27, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  17. John in Gig Harbor

    drip, drip, drip, FLOOD!

    October 27, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. David

    Don't be afraid to vote for a Democrat. The Republicans had control for six years. Can the Democrats possibly do any worse? Highly doubtful in these tough economic times and it would not bode well for them come the next election. Besides, it runs counter to Obama's tax cuts policy in his economic platform.

    October 27, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. Lee

    Now the media should ask Todd Palin about the "buddies" that helped him built his house.

    October 27, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. Kevin

    60's my favorite number now.

    October 27, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. Tiaunia - DALLAS, TEXAS

    GOOOOOOOO DEMS!

    I'M SO EXCITED. ALL THE WAY!

    I'M VOTING FOR THAT ONE!

    October 27, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  22. Craig - Hastings, MN

    So we can get a socialist agenda crammed down our throats or up our bazoos. That what you have in mind Ethan? Thanks but NO THANKS.

    October 27, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. J-Tyme

    Did someone just say Conrad Burns?

    Let's vote America!!! Everyone!

    October 27, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. Lee M

    Hey he was just "borrowing" those items just like his fellow Alaskan Republican, Sarah Palin.
    He insists he wasn't keeping it all... even after 7 years with one of the items.
    Another scumbag bites the dust.

    October 27, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. kev

    the anchorage daily already endorsed obama. sorry palin.

    October 27, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
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