November 20th, 2008
11:30 AM ET
5 years ago

Stevens bids good-bye to Senate peers

Stevens bid farewell on the Senate floor Thursday.
Stevens bid farewell on the Senate floor Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, a fixture in the U.S. Senate for nearly 40 years, gave a brief farewell to fellow senators Thursday, adding that he is confident he can "remove the cloud that currently surrounds me."

Stevens, who turned 85 Tuesday, was convicted in October of seven felony charges for filing false statements over several years on his Senate financial disclosure forms. Prosecutors said Stevens hid hundreds of thousands of dollars in "freebies" from an oil-field services company in his home state.

Stevens maintained his innocence even after the conviction. At a debate days before the November 4 general election, he said he had "not been convicted of anything."

It's not clear if the outcome of his trial influenced voters, who gave Stevens 47 percent of their ballots and 48 percent to his Democratic rival for the seat, Mark Begich. Begich currently serves as the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska.

Stevens officially conceded the race Wednesday.

"I also pray for my successor's success," he told fellow senators Thursday.

Stevens also repeated, in part, something he told a reporter Wednesday.

"I don't have any rearview mirror. I look only forward. And I still see the day when I can remove the cloud that currently surrounds me."

"I believe God will give me more opportunities to be of service to Alaska and to our nation," the senator added.

Christmas Eve will mark Stevens' 40th anniversary as a senator. He was appointed to his seat on December 24, 1968, when his state was less than 10 years old.

Stevens is the second-longest serving congressional Republican in history, behind Sen. Strom Thurmond, and the longest-serving Republican currently in the Senate.

"It's hard to believe that so much time has passed so quickly," Stevens said. "I treasure every moment I've spent representing Alaska and Alaskans."

"Home is where the heart is," he added. "If that is so, one is right here in the Senate ... and the other is in the state of Alaska."


Filed under: Ted Stevens
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Joyce, MD

    Anybody has got to be better than a FELON. I think the Congress should rethink someone staying longer than 3 terms. The Congress get in and they get complacent. They think they own the Congress and us. Let's really throw the bums out.

    Also, I think he should be treated like any other felon. He should not be allowed to vote. This man is just sorry he got caught. He's arrogant and misguided.

    November 20, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. Eleanor, Port Orchard, WA

    GOOD RIDDANCE! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!!

    Stevens is one of the best arguments I can think of for Congressional TERM LIMITS!!

    November 20, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Meka

    Long overdue. . .

    Stevens too OLD, to have been an EFFECTIVE DECISSION MAKER!

    12 Years, is LONG ENOUGH to serve the people. NO RETIREMENT PACKAGE!

    November 20, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Pat F

    Unless Begich can bring home the pork like Stevens did, he'll be a one-term Senator. No one brought more pork home than Stevens, and Alaskans loved him for it.

    We "lower 48-ers" like to think that Alaskans are bumpkins, but believe me, they know what side their bread is buttered on. They pay no income tax, and they get a check every year from the State. Plus free college – the list is long.

    November 20, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. ChrisB

    Alaskan voters accomplished what 7 felony convictions couldn't... his removal from office. Hooray for common sense. Maybe Dubya and Cheney will hold the door open for him when that bunch leaves Washington for good. A new day is dawning and there's no more room for the corrupt Old Guard that has abused power for 14 years... first in Congress, then in the Presidency.

    November 20, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Praetorian

    Adios.
    You have provided enormous benefit during your lengthy career as a Senator from Alaska.

    Now, perhaps–literacy will improve, cronyism will be dislolved, and the citizens of Alaska will be on an equal footing with the rest of the country–with regards to unionization of employees, employee benefits, and fair representation.

    November 20, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. please

    I almost feel bad for him, ALMOST.........never mind, I don't, see yah!!!!

    November 20, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Ian from CO

    Karma always works itself out. Good riddance!

    November 20, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. Darryl

    I used to live in Alaska and Begich is one of the good guys in a very corrupt state politically. I look forward to seeing him in the US Senate.

    November 20, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. wc 144

    In reference to Rob Johnson's comment all I can add is Don Young. So yeah they can, and do, have THREE people that bad.

    November 20, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. deb in Colo

    Bye Ted!!! NOT sorry to see you go...

    November 20, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Boner

    I like ole Stevens

    November 20, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. JK

    Thank God that scum, felon will no longer be in congress...

    November 20, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. james

    Felons shouldn`t get a pension............

    November 20, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Michael -Ventura,CA

    It is amazing to me how the good people of Alaska almost re-elected A multiple-felon – but look who they elected as their governor!

    November 20, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. Terry Dayton,Ohio

    It's not quite starting at the top (Bush/Cheney) but it is a great start !!!!W e'll have to wait an see if the "almighty" Bush pardons this one before leaving office.

    November 20, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. Gracie

    Stevens has NO ONE else to blame for his own demise but HIMSELF. We as Americans don't owe him any sympathy or mercy! Bottom line.

    November 20, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Gekonge

    You belong in prison, bye bye

    November 20, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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