The Democrats are looking to pick up quite a few seats in the House and the Senate. The question is, how many? The most recent development in respects to this comes from Alaska’s Republican senator Ted Stevens, who with 40 years of service is currently the longest serving Republican in the U.S Congress. Ted Stevens is up for re-election this November and is facing a more difficult task against his Democratic rival Mark Begich, due largely to legal issues.
After a jury recently found Stevens guilty on seven felony charges of lying about receiving money from Alaskan oil company, Stevens is now facing the possibility of officially expelled from Congress. To make matters worse, the current climate is not one that would allow his peers to support him.
Martin Kady II and John Bresnahan of Politico.com report, October 28, 2008:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling on Ted Stevens to resign from the Senate – and warning that the longest-serving Republican senator in history will face certain expulsion if he doesn’t leave on his own first.
McConnell, locked in a tough reelection fight in Kentucky, did not call for Stevens’ resignation in his initial statement on the Alaskan’s conviction on seven federal felonies Monday.
Republican Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin wasted no time in separating themselves from Stevens and asking that he resign as well.
While support for Stevens is thin in the U.S Senate, he is still receiving support from the Alaskan GOP. William Yardley of the New York Times writes, October 28, 2008:
ANCHORAGE — The Alaska Republican Party on Tuesday found itself in the awkward position of urging voters to return a convicted felon to the United States Senate. The party is pushing for the re-election of Senator Ted Stevens, who was convicted on Monday of seven felony counts but continues his campaign for a seventh full term, in the hope that his re-election will allow Republicans to hold onto his seat even if Mr. Stevens eventually resigns.
Ted Stevens has the chance of becoming the fifth senator in history to be expelled from Congress. He is mostly recently known for his highly criticized “bridge to nowhere” plan, a $453 million dollar bill to build two Alaskan bridges. In 2005, Stevens vowed he would resign unless the bill passed. While the felony charges are not directly related to the bill, Stevens may end up resigning on account of it anyway.