April 3rd, 2009
10:25 AM ET
9 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. Jean, Indiana

    Palin should be blasting George W. Bush, whose administration was responsible for the unfair conviction.

    Where is that outrage?

    April 3, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Dan

    Senator Stevens was not found not guilty. AG Holder's decision to drop the case speaks about the inability to retry because of prosecutor misconduct. It does not mean he is innocent. He could be, but this ruling by Holder is not a statement about innocense.

    April 3, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Watchful Cowboy

    Sarah – your state could have elected Mr. Stevens if they wanted to – how dare you suggest that the people of your state didn't know who they wanted as senator – and to think you thought you could be Vice President.

    April 3, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Sarah, Stevens is STILL guilty, just not too guilty, kind of like you.

    April 3, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Tiger75

    She do not want Stevens to take her job as governor so she is asking for a recall thatjust like her I wonder why she did nto ask for one in NOV when she and McCain lost the race remember god will put the right person in office those was her words.

    April 3, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Rushlican Charlotte, NC

    She is just clueless. There is no other explanation for her. She just does not get that people are not as stupid as is she.

    April 3, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. John Pa

    Lets have a rematch between Bush and Gore!

    April 3, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. PatC

    There is precedece for this. When strange circumstances happened in South Carolina the 1st time Strom Thurmond won (a fellow candidate died) he later Resigned setting up a special election. So I guess this means a Democrat Senator is less honorable than Strom Thurmond. Go figure.

    April 3, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Tomas E

    Let me guess.. Palin wants her name in for senator too!

    April 3, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Marge

    Do you think if a republican won an election they would resign and go for a 'DO OVER'. Look at Coleman in our state of Minnesota he is whinning and moaning and everything else to get the senate seat from the one who won the election.

    I guess the republicans want to set a new rule. If they loose, do the election over.....hey that's a good one for Bill Maher's New rules.

    April 3, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. PatC

    Oh the case does prove he is innocent. When charges are dropped you are innocent. That is how law works in this country. Otherwise I expect the same people saying Ted Stevens is not innocent to cry and say Bill Ayers is not innocent. Don't be a hypocrite.

    April 3, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. I like Stevens vs. Palin

    now that is a good match up

    April 3, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. SHIRLEY "60"

    Ted Stevens is 85 and still guilty as charged, and should stay out of politics for the remainder of his life. He should consider himself lucky that for the decision made by the new attorney general, and call it a day. No matter what failin palin says.

    April 3, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Tarpon

    Even the Alaskan king crabs are rolling their eyes at this one.

    April 3, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. pam Eugene OR

    Every time there is an article about Palin there are always those on the right that proclaim that the Democrats are somehow afraid or scared of Palin.
    I am a Dem and I do not fear Palin in the least. I believe she is a joke and has no place in national politics. I don't think there are any other Dems that fear Plain. The Republicans would prefer to accuse us of being intimidated by Palin rather than admit what a know nothing she is. She is a far right nut case and gives the Dems something to laugh at
    She will not get a do-over for this guilty man.

    April 3, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Greg in MN

    Party First Palin opens her mouth again and shows that Republicans just don't care for anyone but themselves.

    April 3, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Dan in NY

    There are always outside influences during an election. John McCain spread countless lies about (now) President Obama. Had McCain won, would Obama be able to ask for a second election just in case people based their entire decision on McCain's lies? The fact that the case is being dropped does not change the results of the election.

    April 3, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Debra from Georgia

    Get over it Sarah Palin, the election was fair and square, too bad I can't say this about election 2000, Bush vs Gore. You might have an option, go to the supreme court and let them idiots decide the election.

    April 3, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. A little sad

    This is hysterical.

    The Bush DOJ has come under scrutiny in several cases for their handling of cases against deomcrats in an effort to sway close elections.

    Now that a democratic DOJ requests that Stevens conviction be vacated due to the Bush DOJ's bungling, there is a call for a "do-over".

    It's always fun to watch the republicans shoot themselves in the feet. Too bad for Stevens that his own party exposed his criminal activities, but their incompetence is no reason to overturn a fair and free election.

    April 3, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |

    CNN, once again trying desperately to keep Sarah Palins dream alive by reporting on her everyday! No matter how irrelevant she is to the rest of the free world!

    April 3, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Julie

    I don't think that AG Holder cleared him of wrongdoing, I think that he said that the prosecutors had withheld evidence that could have made a difference from the defense and in the interest of justice, they were dropping charges. I believe some of that had to do with Stevens being 85 years of age and the Dept. of Justice trying to clean things up from the past administration. There should not be a new election. Unfortunately, candidates get muddied with non-truths in almost every election. Every time someone is cleared of one of the many charges leveled against them during a campaign there should be a new election if they lose? I don't think that is a very good precedent to set. In fact, I think it would be a pretty stupid knee-jerk reaction. Gov. Palin called for him to step down, if everyone remembers correctly. She must not have believed in his innocence either and now she wants a do-over.

    April 3, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Ron

    Just because the prosecution cheated and the charges were dropped doesn't mean the man's not guilty.

    April 3, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. RC

    Is this woman stupid or what? I have never heard anything so incredibly dumb in my life. What planet is she from?

    April 3, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. trying to be reasonable in WV

    Are these people SERIOUS????!!!!!???? While we may regret (and prosecute, if appropriate) prosecutorial misconduct, the election was done fairly and squarely. There are no credible allegations of election misconduct or even miscounting here. Begich won. 'Nuff said.

    Move on, Sarah and fellow whiners. More evidence of why Gov. Palin should finish out her term and fade away . . . Lord have mercy.

    April 3, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. Simmy

    Thank God I didn't have to hold my breath long. I knew she'd be back for another 15 mins. of spotlight. Stevens won't be back though. He might, however, become Alaska's oldest governor. Gov. P's damsel in distress persona will soon cause problems in her marriage. She needs to seek professional and or genuine spiritual guidance. God please help her.

    April 3, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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