November 12th, 2008
06:39 PM ET
12 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. Don_N

    If a state will elect a convicted felon to represent them, it says a lot about the people in the state.

    November 12, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  2. Perusing-Through


    Oh Please! Please! Please let it be Mark Begich the winner!

    November 12, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Mike

    I think that Alaska needs a federal probe into their election situation. They were set for record turnout like everywhere else and they have barely matched their '04 turnout. And they have found tampering in the past.

    November 12, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. big daddy


    November 12, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  5. Youtubby

    CNN Please do us all a favor and stop the coverage of Sarah Palin. Seriously, how many stories of her are on your ticker everyday??? ENOUGH ALREADY !!!!! There are more important things happening to people ie losing jobs, health insurance, investments etc, and instead of focusing on those things to help us find a solution, you rather feature a woman who was rejected by the American people. I just dont get why are you still talking about her. Its quite disappointing I must say !!!!

    November 12, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. Irony

    Count every last one. Whatever the outcome, make sure no voter is left out.

    Of course, this may be considered a "leftist" or "socialist" view these days. I consider it patriotic. If you don't want to count all the votes, move to a country that doesn't have elections.

    By the way, the Alaska permanent fund is one of the most socialist transfers of wealth in the US, but I don't hear anyone complaining about Socialist Sarah and her IAP member husband's lack of patriotism...

    November 12, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. Cynthia; Bham

    Let's hope it shrinks ever farther. The last thing we need in Sarah Palin appointing her or appointing the wrong person to the position.

    I saw her on the Situation Room saying that she would help President Elect Obama in one sentence and attack him in the next. Her kind of help he doesn't need.

    November 12, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  8. A Woman In California For Obama

    Only in Alaska are ALL things possible i.e., felons run for the senate, governors escape abuse of power charges and the AIP is of no significance to the media although a certain party was running to be vice president. Only in Alaska would this be possible.

    November 12, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  9. Loyal Repulican for 49 years voting for OBAMA

    Go Begich!!!!!! We absolutely do not want Palin nominaing herself to the Senate. Keep her in Alaska and DO NOT let her come back to the lower 48!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 12, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. pete garza

    Let the process proceed.all votes must be counted Sen Stevens has served and met the needs of ALASKA as per his duty to bring home the PORK???????????. now lets move on and adhere to the rule of lawPedro(Pete)

    November 12, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. maurice

    perhaps a easy way to end a bad situation. just come up with some"extra" votes that weren`t counted. atleast if stevens loses by votes he wont have to be kicked out of the senate for being a convicted felon. who said being a polititian was easy hahahahhahahaha.

    November 12, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  12. Soccer mom

    Too close to count.... in that case, I think it should go to the one that isn't a convicted felon.

    November 12, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  13. Unreadable

    I hope Begich wins. Stevens, like all Republicans, just has no shame.

    November 12, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. Dan

    I have no idea how any Alaskan could vote for a man convicted of multiple felonies. And you wonder why you have such a horrible reputation? Idiots.

    Oh, and you can keep you governor because we do NOT want her anywhere near the White House.

    November 12, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  15. Vet from Texas

    Is there an ACORN in Alaska?

    November 12, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  16. Enough of Palin

    Pailn said she'd reach out to Obama and his spokeswoman Ms. Jarret said Obama would welcome her. I think he should be applauded considering how she slandered him in the election.It just goes to show no matter what people say about him he is determined to move forward.He already knows there will be people that no matter what he says or do will say the worst about him but this is not the way he see going forwarded no matter what those think that don't support him.But what I don't understand whether he is president or not why would she accept any position in his cabinet if she thinks he pals around with terriost.And what about that silly woman in the red sweater that said he was a arab.How ridiculus are these people?Palin still thinks she can fool the american people.And you would think after all the campaigning she did the first thing she'd want to do is spend some family time with her kids especially her down syndrome baby instead of trying to get an interview with all the major news networks.After the Katie Couric interview I bet she wont do another one with Katie .I listen to her today long enough rambling on on about Ayers and Obama and in another breath she's talking about working with Obama.When she spoke about Obama's girls I thought she would say they also were involved with Ayers thats just how unstable she is.The media is giving her more air time than McCain and he was the presidential candidate.Please just let her go back to Alaska so she and Todd can have continue to have more babies even if she is 44 years old as if that will stop her

    November 12, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  17. Brenda in Detroit

    This count is going in the right direction. If Mark Begich wins this Senate seat – the victory is 2 fold. The dems pick up ANOTHER seat and Sarah Palin will have to sit up in Alaska being governor there – which will take her out of the limelight. She can't see reality for what it is – the republicans lost the election. I truly do not see Obama asking Caribou Barbie for advice on ANY level. She needs to finally stay up in Alaska. She is dangerously ambitious. Can you say "hype over substance"?

    November 12, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  18. OurnextPresident

    Ted Stevens another corupt GOP Necon needs to go he was found guilty and the icing on this cake will be his downfall and defeat .

    Its time for real change and Ted Stevens is going down for good .

    Democratic challenger Mark Begich I perdict in the winds of Political change in our nation will come out the winner when its all over .

    If the numbers are any indication its going the Democrats way .

    November 12, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  19. voter

    Begich is ahead by 3 votes. The lead can increase because appears that eraly voting favors Begich and those votes are now being counted.

    November 12, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  20. Vic

    I hope Stevens loses by a wide margin so that Alaska mess will come to a close.

    November 12, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  21. KofTX


    November 12, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. Dal CA

    Ah there is a possibility of a Democrat from Alaska. That would really throw the spanner in the works for our heroine Plain.

    November 12, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  23. Scam

    If Stevnens wins

    And is voted out

    and Palin appoints herself

    It will prove that Republicans are stuck in an ugly past

    If Jindal accepts confirms the uselessness of any Republican

    November 12, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. mountainview

    Does the 2nd amenment apply to Moose in Alaska? Hope it does

    November 12, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  25. mountainview

    Does the 2nd amendment apply to Moose in Alaska? Hope it does

    November 12, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
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