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. AM in VA

    Corruption from a veteran in the highest legislative branch of government in the land. I hope Alaskans have the good sense to "run him out of town".

    October 28, 2008 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  2. anne

    Only in America can a felon not be allowed to vote but can still run for Senate. Let's shake the washington tree of bad apples while we have a chance!! These people are ruining America!!

    October 28, 2008 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  3. Ananth

    That is so much true Power Corrupts- Politicians are very rarely Clean!! He represnts the State from Where GOP VP nominee is contesting! Bravo Joe the Janitors! who want to clean Washington, Wall Street. Their own ally is Stinking rotten.

    October 28, 2008 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  4. Jeff - Austin, TX

    Ted Stevens is the poster boy for term limits.

    October 28, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  5. concerned Dem

    If I was running against Stevens, I would tie him to McBush and McPainful, not that his running opponent needs to do that now. He'll probably win by a landslide.

    October 28, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |

    This does not surprise me.
    This man is very friendly with Sarah Palin, they are all criminals as far as I am concerned!
    It will be a happy day when Obama wins!

    October 28, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  7. Dave V.

    The guy is guilty of fraud and he is running neck and neck with his competitor?!?!?!?! In Alaska they obviously have a different set of standards for their elected officials.

    Considering that Palin was found to violate the ethics of the Govenor's office in the "Troopergate" scandal and still has a 70% approval rating.

    Looks like in Alaska the only requirement to get elected is that you have to be Republican.

    October 28, 2008 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  8. Sue

    How could this be? Someone in Alaska found guilty of wrongdoing-NEVER! Just look at their Governor.

    October 28, 2008 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  9. Bruce

    Just thinnk about it, he comes from Alaska too. Maybe it is time to really look into Palin's activities while she was there. The AIP issue is still not in the open. Her Husband was amember of that HATE GROUP and she PALs around with them. That group HATES everything abut America. Palin's contact with AIP is much stronger than any of the things they try to stick to Obama.

    October 28, 2008 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  10. Dawn

    If the Democrats gets the magic number of 60, the Republicans will worry, if Obama wins, but if McCain wins, our country could be screwed, first of all Palin would not have a clue what her offical job of VP, remember she will tick off the Senate.... Mmm, well this could be very interesting.

    please vote for Obama/Biden08/12

    October 28, 2008 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  11. Jan

    what is the point in casting a vote? the election is "fixed" for Obama with all of the voter fraud that justice refuses to address , MSM bias, hidden tapes, etc until after the election and the powerful left wing stars and their vicious smears. There is NO chance in the US today for a FAIR ELECTION–cnn HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THE FRAUD BY NOT HELPING TO PUSH FOR FAIRNESS.

    October 28, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  12. nychag 4 obama

    I'd like to meet one of these 12% who thinks the country is doing well. (And have whatever they're smoking.)

    October 28, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  13. Dealt, Lisbon

    I don't understand how the McCain campaign with all these "small", "petty" scandals (inside its own ticket as well) can still go about Obama's "socialism" and "redistribution of wealth".

    The role of a government in running a country is vast,. That doesn't mean a "nanny state" or the death of small, medium or big business.

    A fair and strong government menas first rate education for all, adequate health care, solid infrastructures which business can use for mobility and spreading their products around, renewable energies which diminsh dependency on foreign oil, a regulated business environment where people can invest safely, fair and equal justice, safe cities, etc. For that you need money and face it, the money comes from all workers. And I'd say it's ethical (not to say christian) to tax higher incomes more than lower incomes.

    A healthy economic environment means all of the above and not just lower taxes, or else America and European countries would be happy with living in China or India and not just using those locations to produce cheaply.

    October 28, 2008 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  14. Over taxed, over worked

    Stevens should step aside and endorse Bob Bird, otherwise the republicans lose another seat.

    October 28, 2008 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  15. chas alabama

    If the people of Alaska send Stevens back to Washington it will be proof the the people of Alaska are the dumbist in the world.

    October 28, 2008 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  16. Quirkydude

    Sorry to be so picky...but when someone's name ends with the letter "s", the apostrophe comes after the "s" when showing the possesive. Such as "Ted Stevens'"...not "Ted Steven's".

    October 28, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  17. Scott Tucson

    How about issuing federal indictments to Barney Frank, Chris Dodds and Charles Shumer for their rolls in the fannie-mae/freddie-mac debacle which started this economic melt down?? Oh!! I forgot, they're democrats and as such are untouchable.

    October 28, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  18. carol

    Although Ted Stevens has been found guilty,he, like his fellow Alaskan
    Sarah Palin " have done nothing wrong" in their eyes!!!!!
    I would like to know what planet they both live on and how they get away with it????
    It's amazing to me how he may still be able to run for his senate seat and Sarah Palin is still running around the country talking about corruption in Washington!!!!
    I'm sure if it were any other American citizen they would be on their way to jail......I am totally amazed at how the legal system works for these kind of folks.......aren't we supposed to be a nation of laws??
    I know I for one am sick of how the law works for some and not others and if you break the law of any kind you are punished in some way and not allowed to carry on as if nothing has happened!!!
    It makes the whole justice system look like a joke!!!

    October 28, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  19. shocka

    The corruption in Alaska is so deep it makes waves.

    October 28, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  20. Xavier

    First Stevens, then Palin, then chenney, then Bush. All these republicans need to be thrown in jail!

    October 28, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  21. SB in NoVa

    Is it just me or does the whole ethical thing seem to be derailed in Alaska? Who the heck do these people think they are and WHY are they in public office???

    VOTED early yesterday for OBAMA/BIDEN!
    Turn VA Blue!

    October 28, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  22. Q

    One of the best speeches I have ever heard. Once again, Obama is trying to heal the country while Mccain continues to divide with his rhetoric of fear and hate. Distorting the truth to win. Allowing his running mate to subvert the truth for their political gain. I am just mystified that anyone listening to the republican ticket could in good conscience vote for it. I have to say, I am very nervous about this election. I believe that race is the biggest barrier that we face. There is no other reason to explain why the worst run campaign in modern history coupled with the worst vice presidential pick in the history of mankind, is not 20 points behind. Everyone, please get out and vote for Obama. Now is not the time to sit back and think others are gonna carry us across the line. Dont believe the polls. This race is very close. We can not take the chance of a Palin run country, because i dont care what he says, John Mccain is old and doesnt look good. Just the other day, they reported that he told his staff not to schedule anything before 9am. How does that work in the White House? Get out and vote.

    October 28, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  23. FLORIDA for Obama

    Another one bites the dust.....Another one bites the dust........Hey,Hey....


    PALINSs' abuse of power impeachment/recall
    McCAINs' loss of ability to speak/think for himself
    Bush being sent to Guantanamo for War Crimes against
    humanity AND missapropriation of funds,Embeezzlement, etc.,
    CHENEY also charged with War Crimes and sent to
    Guantanamo to sit there FOREVER with NO REPRESENTATION

    And, I must ask the RIGHT WING CHRISTIANS Repug-licans OUT THERE......IF you OPPOSE ABORTION........HOW in the HELL can YOU send our Men and Women to KILL or BE KILLED in WAR?


    October 28, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  24. James

    I wish americans would take a page from South Africa's book, reject fear and loathing in favour of genuine change and progress, and re-integration into the world, vote Obama !

    October 28, 2008 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  25. Charles Stoll

    Even with the verdict of guilty on all counts, there is still a large base that will vote for him to keep away a democratic majority. In the infamous words of Bill Mahr " Americans are too stupid to be governed". This has been evidenced time and time again such as Bush still has a 25% approval rating. Has anyone met any of these 25%?

    October 28, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
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