Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens Loses Re-election Bid to Mark Begich

Nov 18, 2008 10:32pm

From the ABC News Political Unit:

The longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, lost his re-election effort to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, bringing the Democratic net gain in the U.S. Senate to 7 seats.

Begich tonight leads Stevens by 3,724 votes at the current count with roughly 2,500 overseas ballots left to be counted.

Stevens could not survive a conviction on federal corruption charges in connection with his failure to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts and home renovations he received from an oil field services company.

The six-term senator, who turned 85 today, had faced calls for his resignation in light of the conviction and he even possibly faced his colleagues expelling him from the Senate if he had won another term.

Stevens or 10 voters may request a recount within 5 days of state review, but the losing campaign would have to cover the cost of a recount.  Alaska only has automatic recounts when the results are tied.

The Alaska victory means that Democrats will begin the next Congress with at least 58 members who caucus, just two votes shy of a filibuster-proof majority.  They could still reach that important margin with the results of one race in Minnesota still not clear and a runoff election in Georgia.

Shortly after the Alaska Board of Elections released the updated count, the Begich campaign claimed victory.

"I am humbled and honored to serve Alaska in the United States Senate. It’s been an incredible journey getting to this point, and I appreciate the support and commitment of the thousands of Alaskans who have brought us to this day. I can’t wait to get to work fighting for Alaskan families," Begich said.

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