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)


    October 28, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  2. Michelle, PA

    This has not been a banner year for Alaska's Republican party, to put it mildly. Here's hoping the current batch of corrupt elected officials get tossed out by the Alaskan voters at the earliest possible opportunity (Stevens' Senate seat and the At-Large House seat on November 4th, the Governor when her term is up – if she is not impeached sooner). All Americans deserve better, Alaska is no exception.

    October 28, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  3. Veteran in Kansas

    I am innocent and will contiue to fight. Words of a US Senator convicted by a jury of all charges made against him. Our prisons are overcrowded with innocent individuals. But I am willing to give Stevens the benefit of the doubt, and say that he may very well be innocent, but if he is then he is a victim of senility and can not remember whether he made major renovations to his home or not, can not recall whether he purchased furniture of not. I am not sure what would be worst a greedy, crooked politician of a senior member of the US Senante that has trouble remembering what he does on a day by day basis.

    October 28, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  4. Scott L

    Americans should demand the LA Times release video tape of Obama giving a toast to an anti-Israel PLO activist alongside none other than Bill Ayers.

    Why is the LA Times hiding this from the American people?

    That is anti-American in and of itself.

    And for you liberals who want to trash me, LA TIMES SAID "WE HAVE OBTAINED A COPY OF THE TAPE" I am quoting their own article!!

    October 28, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  5. Jerry

    Power corrupts. Too bad we don't have term limits of 18 years max (3 terms) and also have a rule that says if you are 70 years old or older you are no longer eligible to run for any federal level seat.

    Obama 08

    October 28, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  6. Ann, MI

    I wonder if Rep. Don Young will also be defeated. He has been Stevens' congressional counterpart in pork barrel projects for Alaska. And then of course, there is Governor Palin, who asked the Alaska delegation to secure 200 million in federal earmarks for their state.

    October 28, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  7. Dave

    Poster child for pork spending and using his office for self gain. Watch Palin run for this seat in 6 years so she can emulate her idol.

    October 28, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  8. Ian

    One more reason for term limits.

    October 28, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  9. art

    ya think! Knowing those Alaskans and all the attention they are getting I wouldn't be surprised if they elect the old fart in again.
    At 84 he should move aside and let someone else corrupt for a while.

    October 28, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  10. Doug, Minneapolis

    Now it's time to investigate the dishonorable Govenor Sarah the Power Abuser Palin and her First Dude in Crime husband's link to the same connections. How much work on their house was done in the same manner? In their minds Alaska is so isolated they believe they can get away with things like that. Put them all in jail where they belong. Palin is no maverick, she's just another power hungry monster who will step on anyone or anything that gets in her way.

    October 28, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  11. Joe E.

    Justice was served on a high official. I'm very pleased with the verdict. More such verdicts would discourage undue influence in government.

    October 28, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  12. Alex

    Stevens deserves removal from office. But what is more distressing is that he's been in office for way too long. There needs to be term limits enacted (if they haven't already) to prevent this type of behavior. Two 4- yr terms is plenty for anybody. Perhaps they'll appreciate being elected a little more, although others, like Mahonney, get started early with conduct detrimental to the position they hold.

    October 28, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  13. Bruce

    Looks like BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER. Palin Buddy, must have taught Palin everything she KNOWS about how to abuse her power. Too bad you forgot to teach her how to be effective and be able to answer questions during interviews. But then McCain was not looking for a REAL Person (mighthave been afraid of compitition) He was only looking for a PRETY FACE and a short skirt. Now Palin thinks she is really important and is trying to build a future from this. Too bad they have cameras now and all her stupid acts are gong to live on much longer.

    October 28, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  14. Redneck from Kentucky

    How do you spell corruption and abuse of power in Alaska? Stevens & Palin! It sounds like Alaska politics needs a good house cleaning.

    October 28, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  15. Paul in FL

    I would like to have the final say in this matter. He would serve the full sentence in a regular federal prison.
    The sad part that the mental rejects in Alaska will vote for him in spite of the conviction. He did a lot for Alaska by spreading the wealth. Oops..I should not say that out loud.

    October 28, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  16. Frank,MO

    Next is Palin with her abuse of power !

    October 28, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  17. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Well, all things considered, it could be worse. We could be hanging Obama in effigy and calling it "Halloween fun." At least it hasn't come to that.

    October 28, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  18. Yea Right, DC

    Slam dunk!

    October 28, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  19. Robert

    To quote our idiot President, Bring it On!

    October 28, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  20. Patty

    Good riddance to this slimy Stevens. Rout out all who are dishonest and think they're above everyone else. Stevens is exactly why the electorate is so angry. For those politicians who claim they will change Washington, I challenge them to do so. I hope the Democrats do get the 60 majority, that Barack Obama is our next President of the US and that finally things can get done. With the so called "balance of power" it is proven nothing gets done. I'd rather have one party in power and then vote them out rather than what we've put up with over the past ...NOTHING of significance has been accomplished.

    October 28, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  21. PeopleVOTE

    Republican keep bring idiots like Bachman,Stevens,Palin, Bush and Hire more people like sean Hannity, Bill O'Relley we decmocrats are loving it. My Prediction is this year is the end of the GOP era, this party is dead for the coming 200 years.

    October 28, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  22. dan

    It's the hunting season for lame ducks and another goes down sorry old man but you are toasted. on the other hand the journalist who interviewed Joe Biden ought to grow up and realise that although we need answers to probing questions at least we should be guided and uphold some ethical proffessional way of asking them. she was soo sided with lame ducks (republican, no wonder she and her husband are republicans). i think she needs to visit with CNN best political team for lessons especially Uncle Larry King that might save her career otherwise shame on her. and shame on Ted Stevens

    October 28, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  23. John. Austin, TX

    GO OBAMA!!
    I know this has nothing to do with the article, but i'm an obamabot with no pulse, blindly gravitating towards empty rhetoric and an empty suit. But hey, better hope than criminals!! (Yes, that means you, Sarah)

    October 28, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  24. Bob

    Just another example of republicans gone rogue. We need a change and we will get it in November!

    October 28, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  25. Teresa

    Shame shame.... CNN has also failed to mention that the Anchorage daily news has endorsed Obama. People need to know.

    October 28, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
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