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. Chris from St. Louis

    The democrat now leads by 3 votes ....

    November 12, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. Luigi ina California

    Yeah. That's what I'm talking about. Heartening to see Alaska come to its' senses. Maybe this corrupt, convicted politician can join his governor in being defeated, and he and Palin, media willing, can disappear into the sunset, specially now that it's winter.

    November 12, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. Scam

    what about Bristols wedding?

    Tell me its called off and you can equate the Palins with the Clintons


    November 12, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |

    WATCH SARAH ON LARRY KING: "I will help the press..." Sounds like for sarah campaign is still on??

    What in Gods name is wrong with this homosapien?

    November 12, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |


    November 12, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  6. Sarah Who?

    That annoying buzz in our ears...why isn't she gone yet? Please, please CNN – report only about news that we care about. Palin is history...a brief blip on the American map. Thank God...

    November 12, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  7. Perusing-Through


    As of tonight, Democrat Mark Begich has just taken the lead over Republican Ted Stevens by "3 votes", with 45,000+ votes left to be counted. The remaining votes to be counted tomorrow.

    November 12, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  8. Corey W

    This trailer trash needs go back and stay in Alaska. I'm sooooooooooo sick of her and her horrible voice.

    November 12, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  9. 3strikes/3rdstrike

    nobama democrats across america can suck it, looks like thats the only thing theyre able to do. praising the nobama family for anything they do, getting on their knees for nobama, licking the ground the nobamas walk on. plus praising anyone that nobama appoints to his soon to fail clinton cabinet. when that admin fails, the new slogan in 2012 will be "nobama nicht ändern, wir brauchen Palin Macht", and people will overwhelmingly voting for palin power. democrats dont know how to run anything, such as, when clinton was potus, he had a democratic congress and it didnt last that long, because the democrats know only one thing to do, self destruct.

    November 12, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  10. Obama/Biden 08

    Go Begich!

    November 12, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  11. T

    Begich, yes, please! I am so sick and tired of looking and listening to that airhead lady, Sarah Palin. When she speaks, she goes on and on without taking a breath. If she truly listened to herself, she'd plug the pie hole and go shoot a moose. Honestly, does she think she's intelligent enough to be appointed a senate seat? Oh let me guess, " I'm a maverick, and I can sit with my maverick friend johnny, and we can say and do mavericky stuff, you betcha!'......go away lady, please. There is no need to hear from you now, or did you not get the memo? You Lost! And as a consolation, you can have the clothes, but you must promise to never, never, never, never, never talk to anyone from the media, Never!.

    November 12, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  12. mmd

    palin voted for old ted, she is palling around with a felon. What a phony palin is.

    November 12, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  13. mmd

    Have you listen to her during interviews, this woman is DUMB. The world's worst combination is arrogance and stupitidy, and she takes the cake. She is right and the rest of world is wrong.

    Also, palin is not attractive, take a good look at her. She looks just like her father with a big flat round face. Only difference is that she is a younger model.

    CNN, I am not compaining about the coverage, I thank you for reminding america of what could have been.
    She claims that she believes in god, if so may god have mercy on us and keep her and her juiced up husband out of politics.

    November 12, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  14. 3strikes/3rdstrike

    i bet stevens done more than any other repub or democrap in congress, he outlasted most of 'em. he's done more than any of the average american, ceo of a company/corporation, can do. plus helping out his state, just like any other senator would do. all you idiots have to do, is hear about politicians and corruption, and you start blasting words with that big hole in your face. nobama democrats(e.g., turncoat repubs, independents, die hard democraps), are brainless, clueless, dont even get the whole story straight. you guys blast repubs, but when fire is thrown back, you guys cry foul, and start to whine and complain like theres no tomorrow. sorry @$$ nobama democraps

    November 12, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  15. VETS4Obama

    Hey 3 strikes go back to listening to Limbaugh. No one wants to listen to you spewing hate and pouting about the spanking the Rupugnantcans took! Your corrupt and Bush rubber stamping Party lost. Welcome back to the minority where you belong! Maybe in 30 or 40 years you may have another chance! You really hate it knowing your party really screwed up this country the last 8 years don't you? Enjoy the permanent minority!

    November 12, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  16. AY

    Did ACORN help Obama to win? Why are they not talking about ACORN again?? Obama won in a landslide and everybody kept quiet. Go Obama 08, 12

    November 12, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  17. Fred in Colorado

    As a one time Alaskan & someone who feels that he has a bit of integrity, it pains me to see that the polls, before the election showed Begich with a noticeable margin & now their down to being separated by a mere three votes.

    Is the Alaskan political thievery machine STILL in operation?

    November 12, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  18. Michael G Ventura,CA

    The State of Alaska: where the Governor is a bimbo, the republican senator is a crook, and the electorate supports both.
    Glad I've never been there!

    November 12, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. Nick in WA

    3Strikes – you need to calm down. Comparing the majority of US citizens who supported Obama as follows of a Hitler style ideological fascination is way out of line. Everyone can have their right to their opinion of how the country should be run but all your doing right now is perpetuating the stereotype that the McCain/Palin supporters are more filled with fear/hate then they are of confidence and hope that the country can do better. I can see how to many, it may seem strange that so many Americans are seemingly in love with our new president but don't you think that it may only seem strange because it has been ages since our country has had a president that inspires people?

    Bottom line, regardless of Obama's policies, he has inspired millions of people and rejuvinated peoples excitement in their country. And seriously, how can you say that Democrats don't know how to do anything but self destruct when the past 8 years have yielded such little promise? If I recall, Bush began his term with a republican majority in 2000 (with a tie in the senate) and look how that turned out......

    November 12, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  20. mkay

    Re: 3strikes

    Its kind of funny to hear a RepublicOn talk about DEMS self destructing. I take it you didnt watch much of the Mccain/Palin ticket
    flounder around for 2 months? You lost ,get over it ,move on.

    November 12, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  21. mitch


    November 12, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  22. GA for Obama

    3strikes/3rdstrike- FIRST, the democrats REPRESENT LESS THAN 1/5 OF OBAMA'S BASE, 20% of Repubs voted for him..second, (I support him) no one worships him; Obama has said he is NOT a perfect man, he will not be a perfect president..I don't expect him to be perfect..third, as moderate voters (AKA OBAMA'S BASE) we recognize his mistakes and applaud his sucesses and good decisions and good judgement

    President Barack H. Obama's (I salute you, sir!) cabinet will be full of REPUBLICANS, INDEPENDENTS, WOMEN, MEN, MINORITIES, will be the MOST diverse cabinet

    In other words..SUCK IT!

    November 12, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  23. Pat in Cali

    Can't until Sarah Palin's 15 minutes of fame are up.

    If she is all the republicans have to offer, 2012 will be a pipe dream.

    Convicted felons and air heads.

    November 12, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  24. Dante in Madison, Wi has Stevens down by THREE VOTES! Phew! It's gettin' hot over there in Alaska, you betcha! lol

    November 12, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  25. Chris in Va.

    3strikes could be the poster child for why abortion should remain legal.

    November 12, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
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