| Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) increased his lead over convicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to 3,724 votes on Tuesday with almost all of the remaining ballots counted, and the Associated Press has now called the race for the Democrat. Smile of relief, so well deserved. Croatians all over the world are celebrating tonight, a historic race. Mark is entering Senate at the right moment in history as a critical democratic Senator. |
Stevens loses race to Begich
Tuesday November 18, 2008, 8:52 PM
Ted Stevens’ 40-year career in the Senate has ended on his 85th birthday.
After a two-week-long process of counting nearly 90,000 absentee and early votes from across Alaska, Democrat Mark Begich has defeated one of the giants in the U.S. Senate by a 3,724-vote margin. The Associated Press called the race Tuesday evening.
With nearly all the votes counted, Begich leads Stevens by a 3,724-vote margin, 150,728 (47.8 percent) to 147,004 (46.6 percent). About 2,500 absentee ballots from overseas remain, but they would not change the outcome of the race.
Begich, the mayor of Anchorage, would become the first Democrat elected to Alaska’s Congressional delegation in nearly three decades. His victory gives Democrats 58 Senate seats and puts them one step closer to a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority, pending the results of undeclared Senate races in Georgia and Minnesota.
Stevens could ask for a recount, but because Begich’s margin of victory is greater than 0.5 percent, his campaign would have to pay for the procedure. Begich is leading Stevens by a 1.2 percent margin of victory.
Stevens’ defeat marks the end of his dominance both in Washington and Alaska. The longest-serving Republican in the United Senate, Stevens is renowned for steering billions of dollars in federal funding to his home state. The airport in Anchorage was renamed Ted Stevens International Airport in 2000, and he was named Alaskan of the century that same year.
Nine days before the election, he was convicted on seven counts of corruption charges by a federal grand jury over failing to report more than $250,000 in improper gifts and home renovations he received from the oil services company VECO. Stevens has said he will be appealing the conviction.
On Election Night, Stevens had reason to be optimistic. He led Begich by about 3,200 votes in the initial post-election tally, but there were about 90,000 outstanding absentee and early vote ballots that took two weeks to finish counting. Nearly one-third of Alaska voters opted to cast their ballots before Election Day – and the clear majority of them were Begich supporters who were encouraged to cast their votes early.
Many of Stevens’ GOP colleagues, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, called on Stevens to resign if re-elected, distancing themselves from the scandal-plagued senator. Republicans, though, postponed a vote on whether to expel Stevens from the GOP Conference as Stevens’s re-election prospects grew dimmer.
After his conviction, Stevens returned home to Alaska for a whirlwind final week of campaigning where he railed against the federal government for abusing its prosecutorial power. The state, which has a long history of distrusting the federal government, appeared to respond to his criticism of prosecutorial abuse.
But it was too little, too late.
http://www.mlive.com/us-politics/index. ... egich.html
AP Calls Alaska Race for Begich
By Shira Toeplitz
Roll Call Staff
November 18, 2008, 9:10 p.m.
Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) increased his lead over convicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to 3,724 votes on Tuesday with almost all of the remaining ballots counted, and the Associated Press has now called the race for the Democrat.