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)
  1. winner

    I was going to support OBAMA but after all these new revelations, I think he is worse than Stevens. I cannot vote for OBAMA now. Thank GOD I found out before election day!! MCCAIN/PALIN

    October 27, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Toooooooo late; I voted Dem!

    ha ha ha ha ha!

    October 27, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  3. Jeffer65

    How can Stevens even run for reelection while he is under investigation? He should've be barred from running again.

    October 27, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  4. rick

    The folks in Alaska seem to have a problem with their ethics.

    October 27, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  5. stephanie

    So is corruption, lies, and abuse of power part of Alaska culture???

    Sarah Palin and her corrupt ways, unethical behavior and abuse of power are next. She must be held accountable. Shame on Mccain for selecting her. So much for country first! These two are pathetic!

    October 27, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. T from AZ

    LMAO.... I believe there's another Vacant Seat available now.

    October 27, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  7. connie B

    Im from Anchorage and Im still voting for him.

    October 27, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. Steve in NC

    Good, we ran him off. Now we need to run off Pelosi, Frank, Dodd, and Obama.

    October 27, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. Dick in Sioux Falls

    I see John McCain trying to scare America into voting for him, because Obama's election, combined with a filibuster-proof 60% Congress, would be out of control of the Republican Party..

    America, you have said America is going in the wrong direction. I agree, and suggest you give the Democratic Party the chance to really start us in a new direction, a direction of benefit to Middle America and all America because of the exciting new image of America in the world; as well as a new and vigorous economy in this country.

    October 27, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. mbg

    Palin thinks now he will do the right thing??? Does she think he gets off with a slap on the wrist?? Palin took money from the same oil company that now has to much control. Sorry Gov. Palin your stories dont add up you are probably next in front of the Judge!

    October 27, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. Philly

    Time for Stevens to really find out what a "series of tubes are"..... In prison.

    October 27, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. What in the world?

    What is he convicted of? Write an entire story for goodness sakes, not just more build up from one party to another. If the crime was so bad, why was the race neck and neck during the trial?

    What in the world? CNN, where is the news in the story? What was the actual conviction charge?

    October 27, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. Obama/Biden 08!

    Republican's can't get enough of shooting themselves in the foot!!! Keep it up guys Obama will be up by 20 pts by Wednesday!!!

    Go Obama!!

    October 27, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  14. BK

    No one guilty of corruption charges should be allowed to run. We need to hold our politicians to higher standards. This includes politicians of all parties. Corruption is an offense that could result in a President being impeached, so certainly a senator guilty of it has no business running.

    October 27, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. Republican for Obama

    I know this man did wrong but at 84 I hope the judge goes easy on him and gives him probation....its noy like he killed anyone.

    October 27, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  16. Camden from mt

    Oh dear! Too bad so sad repubs. You had your eight years and now the democrats get a shot at things. I wonder what got you in this mess?

    Maybe its, the United States views slowly changing on moral standpoint.

    Or maybe its the extremely unpopular war not just at home but internationaly.

    Or maybe its the idea of giving wealthy people breaks when they don't need them.

    Or maybe its the idea of drill, drill, drill, when we should be the country leading the way to a bright green future.

    Well who knows better luck next go around.

    Obama-Biden 08

    October 27, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Fritz

    There seems to be something with Alaskan politicians that seems to breed corruption and ethical issues. Stevens still will fight this. I do not think he views that he did anything wrong.

    October 27, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  18. Betty the maid

    This is exactly why Obama will be our next president...the Republicans simply do not deserve another 4 years after 8 years of destroying our country and leaving it in shambles. Bush and his cronies were and are an absolute disgrace.

    (BTW...that entire Palin family should be on Jerry Springer, what a bunch if white trash thay are!!!)


    October 27, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. S Lyster

    With Stevens' conviction one might want to say that the wheels continue to come off the McCain-Palin campaign.

    Yet unless someone throws that annoying mini-spare out of the trunk, there just may not be any more tires to come off.

    And as for Stevens claiming he is innocent – about 80% of folks in prison say the same thing. "Honest, judge, I was only the wheel man."

    October 27, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  20. Shakur

    Could it be, the hell of the last eight years may be over?! halleluyah!

    October 27, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  21. nelson

    Senator Stevens should retire..He just doesn't get it! Same thing
    for McCain.. I see that Palin did distance herself from him almost
    immediately. sinking ships lose all their rats.. GOP has major
    problems in this election rotflmao

    October 27, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  22. Suzanne


    October 27, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  23. ken

    How about a ticker on Obama's latest socialism tape from 2001 or is there no way to spin it

    October 27, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  24. 39 white female for Obama

    So does being from Alaska make you automatically think you are entitled to doing whatever you want?

    Nov 4th cannot arrive fast enough.

    October 27, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  25. Pat Riot

    Never in the history of civilization has a government not turned tyrannical in good conscience. Freedom was the most short lived idea man has ever had. Maybe people will tell stories about it one day.

    October 27, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
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