November 12th, 2008
06:39 PM ET
14 years ago

Alaska Senate race a virtual dead heat as count continues

Updated Wednesday evening with latest count.

(CNN) - Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’ lead over Democratic challenger Mark Begich disappeared late Wednesday, with thousands of votes yet to be counted.

Stevens began the day with a lead of more than 3,200 votes, but as the state continued its count of at least 90,000 outstanding votes -– a total that includes early votes, absentee votes and disputed ballots - the state’s Division of Elections reported that the incumbent Republican had 125,016 votes, and Begich had 125,019.

Around a third of those ballots had yet to be counted, in a process that is expected to continue into next week.

Alaska has no provision for a runoff if no candidate gets at least 50 percent of the vote; whoever gets the most votes wins.

Defeated candidates may ask for recounts.

If the difference between them ends up within 20 votes, or less than one-half of 1 percent, the state would bear the cost of the recount.

Stevens, convicted in October for filing false statements on Senate financial disclosure forms, has said he will fight the verdict.

If he emerges as the winner, he would be sworn in to his new term in early January despite the conviction. A two-thirds vote of the Senate would be required to expel him.

It's not clear when an expulsion vote might happen. The Senate Ethics Committee won't say if it has started an investigation of Stevens but has made clear it will not necessarily wait for the appeals process before acting.

Even if Stevens' conviction is overturned on appeal, the Ethics Committee could recommend, and the full Senate could vote on, his expulsion. That's because the Senate could still decide his actions were not appropriate for a senator, even if he was not found guilty in court.

Filed under: Alaska • Mark Begich • Ted Stevens
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Swiftboat my a$$

    There is a bridge to nowhere in alaska.. maybe you can just go there and ... dive.. along with your mentor, Rush Drug-addict-Limbush!

    November 12, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  2. DW

    3strikes/3rdstrike. so much hate is bad for the soul. I say a pray for you.

    November 12, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  3. VETS4Obama

    I am sure 3 strikes praises Palin! Just like him, she has declared war against intelligence! Maybe there is an igloo in Alaska for you 3strikes?

    November 12, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. Andrew

    Stevens is corrupt to the bone and the nation has had enough of the hulk, as he likes to think of himself. He is a cartoon character alright and we need a real person in the senate.

    November 12, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  5. DW

    it all came down to the quality of the candidates. the tainted gop had enough baggage to pull down the good ones. the change was long coming people had enough of hypocrisy.

    November 12, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  6. Swimsuit?

    If we have to see Sarah Palin on the news every day just to sell air time,could we at least move on to the swimsuit part of the competition.

    November 12, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  7. Richard A. Spomer

    How will this silliness help a failing democracy?

    This economy has been since President-elect Obama got the mantel?

    How, were, and when He communicate his change?

    I will give him a brake, however since his winning the stock market continues to fall showing lack of belief and experience if I'm not mistaking the signs?

    If State of Alaska continued its count of at least 90,000 outstanding votes, absentee, lost, stolen, or some other discoverd balots.

    November 12, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  8. KJL

    Stevens should go home and pack for prison.

    November 12, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  9. Peter (CA)

    "Senate could decide his actions were not appropriate for a Senator"-they were not appropriate, even he knew it. That is why there is an audiotape of him saying he may have to go to jail if this was discovered. Should that not be enough? Then again, considering who is in the Senate, may not be enough.

    November 12, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  10. Peter (CA)

    3strikes....The first amendment gives you the right to spew any kind of inane rhetoric you want. I just don't see the point. How about using some facts to back up any part of your rant, instead of just quoting overpaid blowhards like Rush, Hannity, and Ann Coulter?

    November 12, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  11. 3strikes

    obama democrats need to learn how to take heat when fire is thrown back at them

    November 12, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  12. Observer, which is known for its accurate predictions, says there is good reason for Begich to be hopeful when they count the remaining ballots-apparently they are coming from areas where he does well. I'm crossing my fingers! Come on, Mark Begich!!!!

    November 12, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  13. Fed up with the lies

    CNN, I have to agree with several writers...Why are you covering a candidate that lost? I don't think the majority of Americans care anything about the joke from Alaska, and can't understand why you and every other news agency keep her in the loop. Please let her slide back in to the peaceful darkness of the night.

    November 12, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  14. ldk

    I disagree with all of you wishing Palin would go away. Bring her back as the GOP candidate for president in 2012. Let her get SPANKED again and ensure an easy easy win for Obama.

    November 12, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. Ben in Dallas

    There is only one thing wrong with these blogs anyone with a computer and a net hook up and minor typing skills can make a statement. Whether or not the statement is cogent, is another matter.

    3strikes your hate and anger is what republicans thrive on. I for one am glad to see people of your ilk leave the US government.

    November 12, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  16. d in fl

    Dear intelligent people, please ignore 3strikes. He gets his enjoyment off of your responses. Just let him talk to and try to convince himself of his BS.

    God bless...

    November 13, 2008 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
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