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. Foreign observer

    He is innocent – until he is convicted of being guilty. Now it´s clear he is a liar. Same old melody from the GOP.

    October 28, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  2. Chuck

    We can only hope.

    October 28, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  3. Jules

    'Bout time some of these old coots were convicted of the scams and schemes they've been playing for years under the guise of "benefiting the region." This old man won't go to jail, though, becuase he IS an old man.

    Yet one more arguement for term limits.

    October 28, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  4. SPENCER/VIRGINIA

    Stevens down, Palin, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove are next.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 28, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  5. Steve of Florida

    ...and Sarah said that it is a shame for Ted Stevens and his family. Well, shame on him and shame on her!!!

    October 28, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  6. Sharon

    Ted Stevens has now been damaged. I do anticipate he will lose. Sarah Palin and Stevens have had lots of connections over the years. He helped her when she was mayor of Wasilla. Then he gave her a job. Newspaper in Alaska has long archived articles about their connections.

    October 28, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  7. ohio voter

    Are republicans trying to commit political suicide this year? Stevens, Palin, Bachman, so forth and so on.

    October 28, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  8. Sue in MI

    But didn't you hear him? He, like Sarah Palin, is innocent. And he was the one who urged her to run...does this mean she pals around with felons? And this was not 20 years ago-this man is her mentor. I want to know more about the building of her mansion, and how she can be out on the stump saying she's a maverick and fighting corruption when she does this same stuff. I also think that the wardrobe is not a non-issue. Isn't there a clause in the Campaign Financing Act that forbids using public funds for clothing? That McCain voted for?
    The deceptions and whining and dodges are the reason the Republicans are losing-America has had enough.

    October 28, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  9. W Spivey Merritt Island, FL

    Send his crooked butt back to an AK prison and put Palin on the same plane

    October 28, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  10. one more seat

    one of the magic 60

    October 28, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  11. Simpson

    Oh, Sarah! Oh, Sarah!? Who you gonna vote for?

    Do you stand with the felons?

    Or do you stand with the Democrats?

    October 28, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  12. Fred

    Hey, CNN! Where's the story about Obama's 2000 radio interview regarding the redistribution of wealth?

    Are you sweeping stories under the rug again?

    October 28, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  13. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th

    palins guility of the same thing, and even more, when will her verdict come down??

    October 28, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  14. Deacon Blues

    Dems are going to be taking over the minority without even trying.

    GOP=Party of crooks and criminals.

    October 28, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  15. BOB

    Another rat out of the pole barn.

    October 28, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  16. lovable liberal

    Ted Stevens is wondering how he went wrong running government like a business – Stevens, Inc. Call it more Republican corruption, and it could have a national impact.

    October 28, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  17. Tony

    Lock the arrogant, lying, self-absorbed crook up!

    October 28, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  18. eds

    Check out "Fact Check" on the two "closing arguments"... very telling. Nearly all of McCain's are "false" or "misleading" as compared to the vast majority of "true" for Obama. I don't think I saw one "true" for McCain...
    Why does it need to be like this?
    I surely hope that Amercia does the right thing and sends McCain and Palin packing.

    October 28, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  19. Sam

    I hope Obama takes his own advice – not to get complacent and cocky. To paraphrase Yogi Berra – The election is not over until it is over; it is not over until the fat lady sings.

    By the way, has anyone heard the details of McCain's plans? All I hear is that has a plan; I guess his plan#1: Find faults in Obama's plans or blast Bush; plan#2: Read plan#1.

    October 28, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  20. I Can See Alaska

    Have we not had enough losers in office?
    We've tried both dumb and corrupt, lets give smart a chance!

    VOTE OBAMA!

    October 28, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  21. Bob Stephens

    Another crooked Republican gets caught breaking the law, and this one is a buddy of Sarah the Maverick

    October 28, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  22. joe smith

    too bad; we just hope he is not a part of the group that will raise gas prices after the election is final; on that subject, seems strange that a year ago when oil was at $60.00 a barrel, price at the pump was $1.70/gallon; today we have the same senario, but quess what, the price is $2.50, now, put a little for inflation, the price should be around $1.80/gallon; how do the 535 men and women running this country justify that, and their jobs at the same time..

    October 28, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  23. Peter M

    Let them lock the thug and throw away the key for all I care. Now let's how Palin pals around with this convicted felon of a Senator. Stevens, just like Palin and McCain is addicted to graft. They are all disgraceful.

    October 28, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  24. Chris (SC)

    Can't believe there isn't more outrage and other officials asking Stevens to just go away and not taint the entire party.

    If you are convicted of corruption how can you stay an elected offical, especially one from Alaska where oil rules the state?

    October 28, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  25. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Obama wants to spread the wealth. He said it more than once and you supporters are in jeopardy as well as non supporters.

    Be careful of this guy who wants to take our money and give it away.

    that is not the change we need.

    October 28, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
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