October 28th, 2008
05:45 AM ET
14 years ago

Stevens verdict likely to inch Dems closer to 'magic 60'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/27/art.stevens.gi.jpg caption="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 are going well," the strategist told CNN's John King.

Filed under: John McCain • Republicans • Senate
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. JB

    Is the least reflection of how rotten the Republican composition is. Americans should rally round and vote these crops of bad eggs out quick. Obama 2008!

    October 28, 2008 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  2. Librarian for Obama/Biden

    His lawyers will argue that Sen. Stevens is just too old to serve any jail time. Then, Sen. Stevens will continue his run for his Senate seat.

    October 28, 2008 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  3. Alex

    Now that Senator Stevens is a convicted felon, I hope the city of Anchorage has the decency to remove his name from our airport. The airport was once called, "Anchorage International Airport," but was changed to "Ted Stevens International Airport" in honor of this crook.

    October 28, 2008 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  4. grahame

    He's a Republican what do you expect.

    Just another in the long tradition of the Republican egomanics who think they can get away with this kind of thing.

    Don't believe me? Just look at the list.

    Sarah Palin is just another example. Where did she get her fashion excessory? .............At 'Rent an Autistic kid?'

    October 28, 2008 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  5. Bill

    It's time for the Republican Party to either return to the principles of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt or go the way of the Whig Party.

    October 28, 2008 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  6. Bill

    Conservatism, as a principle, is dead.

    October 28, 2008 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  7. Tell it as it is

    Commit the crime, do the time. GOP = Greed Over Principles.

    October 28, 2008 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  8. Tell it as it is

    If he committed the crime and was found guilty, he should be justly punished.
    GOP = Greed Over Politics

    October 28, 2008 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  9. cg

    Good-bye Stevens and take that other croock Sarah Plain with you.
    We don't need you people in Washington.
    God is working with the Dems.
    Thank God for this moment!

    October 28, 2008 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  10. Tell it as it is


    October 28, 2008 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  11. Tim E

    If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; But if you really make them think, they'll hate you.(Don Marquis)

    At least there are 12% of Americans who'll never experience that hug of hate. Another 85% put "think today" on their remote. The remaining 3%? They are the rich and they just call a plumber. Right, John?

    October 28, 2008 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  12. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Man, just kick this bum out next Tuesday and be done w/ it. If we'd get in trouble for lying like that, then he should pay just the same.

    October 28, 2008 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  13. Jerry

    If more of the people we elect were charged and sent to prison for taking bribes and stealing from the american people we would probably have alot of senators and congressmen that would be looking after the interest of the people instead of stuffing their pockets with money from special interest groups.

    October 28, 2008 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  14. Don

    Republicans are thieves

    October 28, 2008 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  15. thomas

    When representatives of the people sublimate their duty for greed, they dishonor theirselves and their country. It is an act of treason to sell out your country for profit and there are still many who have not been punished for their crimes.

    October 28, 2008 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  16. Foreign observer

    Selfish behaviour became more and more a fundamental of the Republican party. They need a time out to get back on feet.

    October 28, 2008 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  17. Mike T. Vaughn

    GOOD!!!!! What Arrogance is that this guy is not a convicted Felon and Still Plans to stay in Office?????? and Worse Yet there is no law on the books that state he can't serve............What a load of nonsense!!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  18. Republican for change

    Vote vote vote!

    Barack 08

    October 28, 2008 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  19. James Adams

    When Sarah Palin loses the election she will return to Alaska as Governor. Because Ted Stevens is now a felon and will probably lose the election which gives Palin the right to appoint a crony to finish his term.
    Solution...she will resign and have her Lt. Governor appoint her to the office. Then, four years from now she will run for President with all of that "Washington" experience under her belt.

    If the Democratic candidate wins the Senate office on November 4, she will go home and write a best selling cookbook on how to make Moose Stew and other wild animal recipes.

    October 28, 2008 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  20. alvino

    Will the last republican to leave the party please turn off the lights and lock the door?

    October 28, 2008 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  21. alvino

    This does not help John the name caller and Sarah the labeller.

    October 28, 2008 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  22. alvino

    How does John McCain get by without being taken to task with his PNAC, Keating, and G. Gordon Liddy ties. Why does he get to pal around with terrorists?

    October 28, 2008 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  23. alvino

    Sarah the abuser (power), did not clean up Alaska, but thinks she can clean up Wash. DC.

    October 28, 2008 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  24. Johnny

    Stevens conviction has nothing to do with Gov Palin or Sen McCain. He did wrong not anyone else.

    October 28, 2008 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  25. Mohamed from Virgina

    fat cat: When crock stilling so long, came to point they think is their rights to do so.A lot like him still in the higher office, but they will get caught.
    thanks god

    October 28, 2008 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
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