Palin Wants Senate Race Do-Over in Alaska

By Teddy Davis

Apr 3, 2009 7:59am

ABC News’ Teddy Davis reports: Republican Gov. Sarah Palin wants a Senate race do-over in Alaska now that the U.S. Department of Justice has decided to drop corruption charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens, a long-time Republican senator who was narrowly defeated in 2008 by Democrat Mark Begich. "It’s fair to say that the governor hopes Begich steps aside so that a special election can be held," Palin political spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton told ABC News. Palin’s push for a special election began when a reporter at the Fairbanks News Miner e-mailed her a copy of a statement from the head of the Alaska Republican Party calling for Begich to step down.    Asked to weigh in on the Alaska GOP’s position, Palin replied: "I absolutely agree." When the Alaska reporter wrote back to confirm that John McCain’s former running mate meant she would like Begich to resign in order to hold a special election, the governor responded: "Yes." During last year’s campaign, Palin called on Stevens to step aside after it was announced that he had been convicted of seven felonies. But after Attorney General Eric Holder asked a federal judge to drop the case on Wednesday, citing prosecutors’ improper behavior during the trial, Palin joined the chorus of Alaska Republicans hoping that Begich would step aside so that a special election could be held. "Now that we know the election was tained based upon a flawed judicial process and an unjust conviction just days before the election, it is absolutely appropriate to hold a special election," said Palin in a written statement. "Alaskans deserve this." Even though Palin is explicitly seeking a special election that would only be triggered by Begich stepping aside, the Alaska governor does not want to be seen as demanding the resignation of a sitting senator. "I am not splitting hairs," said Palin in her statement. "It is not about Senator Begich resigning or not; it’s about providing Alaskans with a fair opportunity to choose." While Palin is hoping that Begich will resign so that a special election can be held, she is powerless to force him to do so and he indicated Thursday that he has every intention of remaining in his seat despite calls from some Alaska Republicans for him to step aside. "Today, with our country in a severe recession, it’s more important than ever that we have a sentor focused on fixing our economy so Alaska have the jobs they need to support their families," said Begich in a statement. "That is my job in the Senate, and I’m honored to serve Alaskans for the next six years." ABC News’ Ferdous Al-Faruque contributed to this report.   

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