Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Alaskan U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, who turned 85 yesterday, narrowly lost his re-election bid to Mark Begich, the Democratic Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska.
Meanwhile, as Alaska’s counting of the November 4 election is almost complete, Democratic challenger for the US House of Representatives, Ethan Berkowitz, conceded to incumbent Don Young, the Republican Party nominee.
With this result, the Democrats are two seats away (assuming that independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman continue to caucus with them) from a filibuster-proof supermajority in the United States Senate, with two races (Minnesota and Georgia) as yet uncalled. That would allow the Democrats to invoke cloture, limiting filibusters to a further 30 hours, an ability last attained in the 95th Congress of 1977-79.
Stevens is entitled to request a recount at his campaign’s expense, and has not yet made a statement. After the completion of counting yesterday, Begich had defeated Stevens by 3,724 votes, a margin of over one percent. 2,500 special absentee and postal ballots remain to be counted on November 25.
Begich released a statement on his win saying, “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.”
Young won his race by 16,280 votes, a margin of five percent.
Stevens recently became a convicted felon on seven counts for lying on Senate disclosure forms about accepting $250,000 in gifts and home renovations from VECO, an oil services company. He has asked President George W. Bush not to grant him a presidential pardon.