April 3rd, 2009
10:25 AM ET
6 years ago

Sarah Palin wants rematch between Stevens and Begich

(CNN) – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Thursday she believes voters deserve another chance to consider electing Ted Stevens to the U.S. Senate now that federal prosecutors have decided to drop their case against him, and supports a re-match between the former senator and Democrat Mark Begich.

Begich defeated Stevens last November soon after the incumbent was convicted on ethics charges.

"Many voters did not choose Stevens because they were told he was guilty, and now, after the election we see there was improper conduct in his trial, so how fair an election was that?" asked Palin, in an email to an Alaska Public Radio reporter. CNN has confirmed the authenticity of the e-mail.

"I agree with other Alaskans who would like to see an election that's free from improper influence, and I can't imagine how Mark Begich could argue that," she continued.

(updated after the jump with Begich camp response)

Palin told the Anchorage Daily News that she does not want to "split hairs" on whether Begich should resign, while agreeing with state Republican party officials calling for a special election.

But the Fairbanks News Miner reported that the governor did back the GOP's position that Begich should step down. A journalist for the paper e-mailed Palin a copy of a statement by the state's Republican party Chairman calling for Begich's resignation. Palin responded: “I absolutely agree.”

Asked by the paper to confirm that answer meant Begich should resign for the election to take place, Palin replied: “Yes.”

Palin spokeswoman Megan Stapleton repeated that position to Politico. “She absolutely agrees that there should be a special election. Stepping down to hold the special election would be the right thing to do,” Stapleton said.

Begich spokesman Max Croes told CNN Friday that the Stevens criminal case was never part of the Begich campaign. "He did not use the Stevens trial as an issue," Croes said. He declined immediate comment on Palin's support of a re-match between Stevens and Begich.

Begich, a former mayor of Anchorage, issued a statement Thursday noting he "got into the Senate race long before Senator Stevens' legal troubles began."

"I'm honored to serve Alaskans for the next six years," he said.

Stevens, 85, will be at a hearing in Washington Tuesday as a judge reviews a Justice Department request to drop the case against the longtime Alaska senator because of prosecutorial misconduct. Stevens has not yet indicated any interest in returning to public office.

UPDATE: Begich Friday was on his way from Washington to Alaska and was not available to comment on Palin's latest remarks. But his press secretary, Julie Hasquet, told CNN that "Sen. Mark Begich is not going to resign, no matter who's asking."

She acknowledged the story has been given new life as a result of Palin's remarks in support of state Republican party calls for Begich to step down as part of a special election. "It's ridiculous. Sen. Begich won very fairly," said Hasquet. "People made up their minds before there was a conviction of Ted Stevens."

Begich is likely to face the question directly during a previously scheduled media availability Monday in Anchorage.


Filed under: Mark Begich • Sarah Palin • Ted Stevens
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. alvino

    Sarah and "Surge" McCain called for Stevens to resign before the election, and now it looks like Ted might take her job.

    April 3, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. gewe

    somebody should resigh but it isn,t begich

    April 3, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. politicalsandwich

    The headline says she wants a rematch between Begich and Stevens. But the article only says she wants a special election to determine the seat...she never said anything about Stevens being a candidate in that election. In fact, so far I have not read a single quote anywhere from an AK Republican saying they want Stevens in that election. Why is everyone assuming that Stevens would be the candidate if they got to run another election? Frankly, that doesn't even make sense.

    April 3, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. A former Alaskan

    First I wanted to ask if she is insane. then I remembered, yes she is – and we already have had plenty proof she does not understand or appreciate the process that no one is above the law or the vote of the people. One can only hopes she soon learns the hard way.

    And PS – Not that I find it relevant in this context, but no one says Steven is innocent, just that the charges are dropped so that Stevens will not receive punishment.

    April 3, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. Lynn

    Did this country do over the 2000 presidential election? No! So why do Alaskans need a do over? Because Republicans in that state said so, that's why.

    April 3, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. Michael Dunn

    Stevens is welcome to a rematch; I believe his opportunity comes in about 6 years....

    April 3, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. donna

    Ted Stevens is 87 YEARS OLD..he needs to enjoy his life now that his name has been "cleared" and spend time with his family...that's all..

    April 3, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. Kentucky Democrat for Obama

    Talk about a sore loser. The people spoke. Ted Stevens is out and Alaska has a Democrat in the Senate. Sarah and the other crybaby Republicans can just build a bridge and get over it.

    April 3, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Cynthia

    if you think he deserves a fair chance appoint to governor of Alaska.

    April 3, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. Cathy Brandes

    He is guilty, he just got away with it due to prosecutorial misconduct!
    Govenor Palin should focus on running Alaska until the end of her term and go quietly AWAY! I think the American public has had just about enough.

    April 3, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Allan

    Only if the voters of Alaska can also have a do-over on the Governor's race as well... What's that Sarah? Never mind? I thought so...

    April 3, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Dan, TX

    Let me get this straight. Repubicans want Begich to give up the election he won, but Coleman not to give up the election he lost?

    April 3, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Cheryl

    So now they want to rewrite history? The election is over and done with and the outcome has already been accepted by all. It was a real election with real voters. Take up any problems with Alberto Gonzales, it was his responsibility to assure appropriate prosecution. Begich should not be punished or even questioned about the legitimacy of his being elected. Sara, grow up.

    April 3, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Bassman

    Gov. Palin is one tough, hard-nosed, leader and doesn't back down. She is principled in the face of attacks.

    April 3, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. I Can't Stand It

    Wow, this is pathetic. We have regularly scheduled elections in this country. If your guy loses, it doesn't matter why he lost. You don't get a do-over. And it should also be noted that prosecutorial ineptitude doesn't mean Stevens is innocent. I already knew Palin was a clown, but I'd love it if she stopped proving it every five days.

    April 3, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. John

    Charges are dropped against known criminals all the time. Remember Sarah, just because someone says you didn't do anything wrong when EVERYONE knows you did, doesn't mean you're clean. Ahem...troopergate....ethics violations....ahem.

    April 3, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. Pete

    So, Sarah was against Ted Stevens being in the Senate before she was for it? Check her statements in October about how she thought Stevens should resign.

    April 3, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. charlie in maine

    What a coincidnce for 8 long horrible years I wanted to have a Bush/ Gore rematch. But life goes on and even though I disagreed with the Supreme Court's descision in 2000 I learned to live with the fact that my choice did not get to take office. I suggest if she wants a rematch then by all means in six years she should vote for Stevens in her primary.

    April 3, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. barking dogs

    Big oil runs Alaska,period.

    April 3, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. Lee in TN

    Begich won the election. He should not have to run again. It was Stevens own republican Justice Department that screwed up.

    April 3, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. msclguru

    Palin:

    "I agree with other Alaskans who would like to see an election that's free from improper influence."

    Improper influence like YOUR call for him to resign before the election, Governor?

    April 3, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Janice

    Stevens will be too old to attempt it. But this does sound like Sarah pulling her old tricks of ingratiating herself with an older political figure to try to work him to get some tips on the ropes of running for Senate and a future endorsement for her own run. Especially since McCain has backed away from her.

    April 3, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. Tony Bickert

    I'm an embarrassed Alaskan and I've no one to blame but myself, for I voted for Palin for governor back in 2006.

    April 3, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. For You, For the US

    i can understand that Governor Palin wants a Republican senator in Ted Steven's place, and as much as I truly want bipartisanship right now (even though both sides argue like crazy) Begich won that election fair and square. Minnesota still has things going on, but the US Senate election for Alaska is done, even if Stevens was not convicted of anything.

    April 3, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Ghost

    Sorry Sarah. Grandstanding ain't a good look anymore.

    She has to know darn well that it will never happen. Sounds good to her supporters and the like, but this won't go down. Why not just suggest no taxes for anyone ever again?

    April 3, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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