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. Karen

    The only reason this guy was convicted is because he is a republican.

    October 28, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  2. esther in VA

    thank god. the less corrupt washed up politicians we have running our country the better
    Obama/Biden 08' & '12

    October 28, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  3. SENATUS POPOLUSQUE ROMANUS

    These GOP politicians seems to come from the same mold:

    The cockier the better! Problem is that soon or later they fall on their bums.

    October 28, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  4. Alex

    I'm not saying the Dems are saints, but these days the Republicans sure do have the market cornered on sleeze.

    October 28, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  5. Christopher

    Tisk...He is Republican and from Alaska...GoFigure...

    October 28, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  6. scott l

    He should be in jaiil but my question is whats with all the early voting . are all of these people going to be out of the country Nov 4th? thats what early voting was for originally. Just shows how todays kids cant wait to do anything and they need it now.. I will wait and I will vote for Al Franken and thats all in my state. I was told many times The Dems dont need my vote anyway so this is the first year I wont vote for a Pres. I just wish theywould of had early voting during my 1.5 hour long Cacuss in MN But I had to work s was unable to stay unlike alll the college kids that night. This whole election year has been a sham ...... and Know Iam not raciest. I just dont think they are the right person Ive heard the same speaches of hope and change for years. I helped get a white coucilman put in jail in MN and a Black man in be doing a rallly in my yard. with over 300+ and I was only a community organizer at the time. and tell ya the truth I wouldnt vote myself in as president.

    October 28, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  7. sharon, newport news, virginia

    When the power hungry fall, they all fall!!! Starting with George Bush and Karl Rove to greedy, dishonest Ted Stevens. I hope the Republicans start laying blame for the loss of this election where it really belongs – at 1600 Pensylvania Avenue.. The lesson learned here as far as campaigning is concerned is here are all the way not to win a campaign. So Republicans when you start pointing fingers, turn that finger on you. All of you, supporting George Bush and Karl Rove are getting what you deserve. I smell landslide and control of Congress. The Democrats sure cannot do any worse than GW and gang for the first 6 years of his reign. Unfortunately the Democrats have a gigantic mess to unscramble and fix and it cannot be done over night. At least some of the power hungry will be gone.Ted Stevens is a perfect example of a political party gone wrong – gimme gimme gimme and all for free. Shame on the lot of you. If records were available, I'l l"betcha" you would find that her house was built from favors.

    October 28, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  8. Former Republican

    It really seems like a "perfect storm" for the Republicans this year. My goodness, isn't karma interesting. Let's hope this works for the good of the country and that, as Christopher Buckley said, the Republican party does some soul-searching after the election.

    October 28, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  9. Bullwinkle doesnt want Palin back in Alaska

    Only wholesome good Americans live in REAL pro-American places like Alaska.

    The politicians in Alaska are immune to greed and corruption and should come to Washington to reform and clean-up the place.

    Obama 08

    October 28, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  10. Doug R.

    The GOP- the party of morals, values, ethics, character, and integrity. Not even close. More like the party of hypocrisy, dishonesty and intolerance. This Mr. Stevens (R- Alaska) is a criminal...throw him in jail.

    October 28, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  11. Purple Nurple

    Look at the corupt SOB. There is the face of the repuke party.....loosers. I am so glad your party is down and out.
    I hope Palin is next. She is just as guilty as he is.
    But, I am sure old "W" as he departs the WH with both middle fingers up, will more than likely pardon him and Palin or any other Grand Old Party member who is a crook!

    I am voting for Obama.....7 and a wake up folks!!!!!!!!!!

    October 28, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  12. Phil in D.C.

    75% of Europeans want Obama to be president. Why don't we hear more about this? You have to understand, Europeans are SMART. They are smarter than Americans and they know what's best. They will work with Obama and tell him what to do so we can all get along better. We all need to understand this so we can get Obama elected and move on with our lives.

    October 28, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  13. You're Next Sarah?

    Just one more nail in the coffin. To the good people of Alaska, take heed. Don't send this one back to Washington, redeem your good state's name.

    October 28, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  14. Rachel

    Ruh-roh! Be funny if Alaska goes to the Dems while Palin is trying to win VP for the Repubs nationally.

    October 28, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  15. Bubba

    I'm no Stevens fan, but it's hard to imagine an operator like him being bagged so neatly.

    October 28, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  16. Marv

    Another crook bites the dust orielly, limbaugh,hannity, Cunningham and other creeps and hate mongers their influence is about to end cowards always always lose. The best thing for them to do now is to pu t their lip over their nose and sneeze. The worst and most dangerous person in the world is Rupert Murdock. Maybe now he will return to Australia, whre his racist ideas are accepted/

    October 28, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  17. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Outrageous! High handed and equally as incompetent and corrupt politicians (from both sides) already dividing up the spoils of the Steven's fall from "greatness".

    What we the people want to see is an appropriate punishment for a fraud, liar and cheat. Speculation has already been made that Bush will pardon or commute Steven's sentence. That would not surprise me in the least.

    Lord, please protect us from our Congresspersons!

    October 28, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  18. Bruce

    Now is the time to take a close look at Palin's ties to AIP.
    It is clear that the REPUBs are trying their old tricks again to prevent leagal voters for voting.
    They are purging voter registrations to prevent people that thye think might be supporting Obama from voting.
    EVERYONE IT IS TIME TO VOTE

    MAKE SURE YOUR VOTE COUNTS
    Check to make sure the machine did not change your vote to McCain when you Voted For Obama. It has been happening

    October 28, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  19. old white woman in NC

    There is divine justice! Another Republican from the Republican welfare state gets his come uppance! I am waiting for JOhn McCain to make a public statement about how the "earmark king" is getting what he deserves. Think we'll get it?

    October 28, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  20. Lola Dee

    He is too old to go to jail. It's like locking John McCain up.

    October 28, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  21. Karen

    It is hard to believe Palin is not tied to Stevens in some way shape or form.

    October 28, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  22. Truth Hurts

    Stevens need to go and sit down somewhere. Not only has he been convicted but he is just too old!! He has been in the Senate since the 60's. It's time for change. He better count his blessings if he don't get 5 years in prison. Which he probably won't because he is too old!!

    October 28, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  23. SW,OHIO

    Just another Republican politician showing us what they have to offer, CORRUPTION!

    October 28, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  24. latina for Obama

    ONE DOWN, ONE MORE TO GO , SARAH PALIN. THERE A COMMIN FOR YA.

    October 28, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  25. petena

    Surprised? Another abuser Republican coming from Alaska! Anyone wanting to vote Republican is nuts!

    October 28, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
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