Stevens’ conviction likely makes re-election harder

October 27, 2008

WASHINGTON – Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is an icon in Alaska where he has provided plenty of federal dollars and even has the airport in Anchorage named after him. But that might not enough to help the 84-year-old senator — the longest-serving Senate Republican in U.S. history – to win re-election next week.

“Just because they name the airport after you, doesn’t mean they won’t throw you out of office,” said Nathan Gonzales of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.

Stevens, who was found guilty on all seven counts of lying on Senate disclosure forms to hide more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts from the head of Alaska oil services company VECO Corp., already had been facing a tough race against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich in an political environment that has favored Democrats.

“Stevens was already in a very competitive race, and this makes it more difficult,” Gonzales said. “Still, I wouldn’t count Stevens out because he is an icon in the state.”

Republicans have had an uphill battle this year trying to protect some 23 of their Senate seats that are up this election cycle while Democrats only have 12 to defend. Democrats are tipped to win at least a few seats held by Republicans including in Virginia and New Mexico.

Stevens won his seventh term in 2002 with 79 percent of the vote.

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- Photo credit: Reuters/Mitch Dumke (Stevens leaves U.S. District Courthouse after being convicted on corruption charges)

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