April 3rd, 2009
10:25 AM ET
5 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. FreeNLovIT

    The only standard that will help us become a STRONG nation is honesty, integrity and honor.

    April 3, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. KLK

    Sorry Sarah, no do-over.

    April 3, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. Tim in NC

    He may not have been convicted, but he was "disciplined" by state level officials.

    April 3, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Nick in Iowa

    Oh, come ON! Does Palin have even the slightest idea how elections in the country work? What a loon.

    April 3, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. God

    Wrong, Sarah. The vote is over. This is not World Wide Wrestling.

    Next!

    April 3, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. KEL

    There can be no do over elections sorry Stevens lose fair and square.

    April 3, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. Zion

    There's talk about Stevens possibly running against her for governor, that's why she's pushing this. She ain't slick.

    April 3, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. Ed Tallahassee FL

    I wanted a "Rematch" between Gore and Bush in 2000, after all the mistakes made in the Florida Count. But hey it didn't happen, learn to live with your new Senator.

    April 3, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. jim-in-PA

    And a new election will cost how much???

    Didn't she pay any attention to why IL isn't have a new Governor election.

    April 3, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. blake in alabama

    There should be a rematch, but democrats dont want it because now that Sen.Stevens is innocent people will elect him so he can continue his long life of public service. Stevens only lost because liberal media already finding him guilty God bless Sen.Stevens I knew you were innocent and all the way down in Alabama. GO PALIN!!!

    April 3, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Jamie

    Sarah wants a re-do? This just shows how inept she is. The election was fair and legal. Stevens lost.
    So she wants a rematch? Wantin' ain't gettin'.

    April 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Obama 2.0

    Let's see Obama is not doing enough, the economy will get better and he had nothing to do with it. GOP remarks are so predictable that they have become a bore.

    April 3, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. truthsayer

    LMAO!!! it aint gonna happen. Begich is the senator

    April 3, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. Nathaniel

    Stevens was CONVICTED. He is GUILTY. Were he to return to the Senate he would be thrown out on ethics violations.

    If prosecutors acted improperly, that may be grounds for dismissal of tha case, but it doesn't make Stevens innocent of the charges. His political life is OVER. And for that matter so is Palin's – beyond that of a representative for the uneducated right-wing fringe for which Palin is the posterchild.

    April 3, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    I think she should pull a Blagojavich and wind up indicted on fraud and felony. That would be a great way to earn respect for her party and state!

    April 3, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. Rick CT

    First off, there can and should be no redo. As much as Stevens was screwed by prosecutorial misconduct, the integrity of our election process would be damaged terribly if there was a redo for everytheng that came to light after the election that was at odds with the facts (perceived or real) on election day.

    That said, it is interesting that it was the early votes cast (mostly absentee ballots) that put Begich over the top. For the votes cast on election day itself (after it was clear that the prosecution was not on the up and up), Stevens lead by about 3,000 votes.

    Also, could one imagine the political uproar if the action taken by Holder was done by the AG before January 20th. The Dems would have been all over that. Notice also that Bush didn't hand out all the sleazy pardons (imagine the uproar if he had pardoned Stevens) that Clinton did (including those in which Holder and Dodd played a big role).

    But in the end Holder did the right thing. And for those who want to convict Stevens anyway, remember that one is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in this country. Holder's action means Stevens has not been proven guilty.

    April 3, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. ElectEngr

    There will be a rematch between Stevens and Beglch...in Nov. 2014

    April 3, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. Michael

    Ah, yeah Sarah.........nothing in the ruling says Stevens isn't as crooked as a dog's hind leg. It simply says proper procedures weren't followed. I'm all for giving Stevens a new trial. The public needs to be reminded how much money he collected under the table–in return for his votes in the Senate. He gave away the public's money in return for personal gain. How pathetic that dimwit Palin still supports this jerk. Her judgement is way off.

    April 3, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Sandy

    Sorry, Sarah, but we don't go back and change the rules after the game is over. If that was the case, why didn't we go back and "fix" either Bush election mistake?

    April 3, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Ken in NC

    Gov. Palin wants a rematch or "Do-Over" for the Senate seat? OK I do not have a problem with that. I do wonder if the rolls were reversed, would she consider a Democrat that lost his seat to a Republican in a like manner to be out of his mind if he / she were to request a rematch / Do-Over?

    People I got to tell you that even a Village Idiot is not that stupid.

    April 3, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Tony

    Lot of people very happy they don't live in Alaska.

    April 3, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. The Real Slim Shady

    Cleraly, this woman does not understand how the law works.

    April 3, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. Ken Mc Lean, TX

    This coming from a woman who could have been Vice President of the United States that doesn't know basis elementary school civics. Senatorial elections are not the WBA, WBC or IBF – Boxing Councils. There are no REMATCHES orchestrated by promoters!

    April 3, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. Gail

    Ted Stevens has served Alaskans well, but he has aged out. Yes, that means he is to old to continue in government. Alaskans spoke with their vote, Senator Begich won fair and square. I want to go forward, and not go round and round without leadership, we already lack that in the governor. She won't run for governor again, she knows she will lose.

    April 3, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Bruce

    This, of course, is just silliness. It is neither legal nor logical to nullify the results of an election simply because there is "new" information. If this were the case, virtually all elections would be redone once the public found out that the candidates exaggerated or even lied during their campaign. Also, Stevens was not exonerated. The Attorney General dismissed the charges because the prosecutor withheld evidence from the defense. In most cases, this is grounds for holding a new trial. The AG in this case decided not to pursue this, but he never said that Stevens was not guilty, only that the trial was flawed.

    April 3, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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