Can Stevens Win Reelection Despite Being Convicted of Falsifying Statements?
Yesterday, Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska was charged with corruption. On Monday the verdict was read to him. Stevens was charged with falsifying statements in regards to receiving gifts worth thousands of dollars. These are very serious charges against Stevens.
There is a scheduled hearing on February 25, 2009. Under these charges, Stevens could serve a maximum sentence or up to 35 years. Regardless of what has happened, Stevens is still running for reelection. He’s called for voters to support him in his reelection campaign.
Two questions should be asked:
- How will this affect the dynamic of the contest between Stevens and Democratic rival, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich?
- Can Stevens win and retain his seat?
So far it was revealed that before the conviction, Stevens and Begich were in a dead heat with each other. Still, it shows that Stevens retains a strong chance of winning reelection. In short, this is a very interesting predicament.
Looking for major gains in Congress, it is obvious that the Democratic Party let alone the Alaska Democratic Party will have its attention towards the state. So far, there is the probability of a major loss in Congress on the part of the GOP. The verdict would be good ammunition for the Democrats to use against Stevens.
Still, it is unknown if and how this will change the dynamic.
Regardless of the verdict, it seems that Stevens still retains power and influence. According to Don Mitchell, an attorney who was part of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Stevens has strong support from the native Alaskans.
However, there is possibly a new factor in play. Early this morning, GOP Presidential nominee Senator John McCain of Arizona asked Stevens to step down.
“It is a sign of the health of our democracy that the people continue to hold their representatives to account for improper or illegal conduct, but this verdict is also a sign of the corruption and insider-dealing that has become so pervasive in our nation’s capital,” McCain said.
For that, McCain said that Stevens has broken his trust and needs to step down from his post.
But, there is the possibility that this could cause some tensions within the McCain campaign. McCain VP running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said that it was a sad day for Alaska and for the Stevens family. According to an article on TIME.com, Palin has called on politicians to step down from their positions. However, the article explains that this was not the case in regards to Stevens’ conviction.
While McCain has called for Stevens to step down, Palin has not.
It is obvious that McCain will not be giving Stevens his support. Still, Stevens and Begich are in a dead heat. There is still the high chance that Stevens could win regardless of the conviction against him.
It all rounds down to this: Despite the conviction received, can Stevens still win reelection?
We will find out Election Day on November 4. Those that want to know the answer should keep track of the Alaska elections then.
Tags: Stevens , Mccain , Palin , Alaska
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