It's Official: yet another Democratic pickup in the Senate


Thank God I'm alive!
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens conceded defeat Wednesday in a re-election bid shadowed by his federal felony conviction, while the Democrat who toppled him staked out a centrist agenda that includes opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

In an eight-sentence statement, the longest serving Republican in Senate history said not enough ballots remain uncounted for him to catch Mark Begich, who holds a 3,724-vote edge out of about 315,000 ballots cast.

He never directly mentioned his Washington trial on charges that he failed to properly disclose a sauna and other gifts from an oil services company, but thanked "the thousands of Alaskans who stood by us.

"I am proud of the campaign we ran and regret that the outcome was not what we had hoped for," Stevens said. "I am deeply grateful to Alaskans for allowing me to serve them for 40 years in the U.S. Senate. It has been the greatest honor of my life."

The votes that gave Begich a winning margin were tallied Tuesday, Stevens' 85th birthday.

The senator's statement was released just minutes after Begich, 46, the Anchorage mayor, met with reporters and disclosed he had not heard from Stevens, even though he had been congratulated by other leading Republicans, including Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

A smiling Begich described his election as a fundamental shift in the Alaska political landscape long dominated by Republicans. At the same time, he made clear he was not a conventional Washington Democrat, citing his support for gun rights and drilling in the protected refuge in the state's northern reaches.

"Anybody who knows me knows that I'm a different Democrat – I'm from Alaska," he said. Along with firearm rights and drilling, "Alaskans are very libertarian in issues where the government shouldn't interfere in their personal lives."

He said he was "definitely different than a New York Democrat."

Stevens' defeat marks the end of an era in which he held a commanding place in Alaska politics while wielding power on some of the most influential committees in Congress.

It also moved Senate Democrats within two seats of a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority and gives President-elect Barack Obama a stronger hand when he assumes office on Jan. 20. Democrats now hold 58 Senate seats, when two independents who align with Democrats are included, with undecided races in Minnesota and Georgia.

Stevens' pursuit of a seventh term was damaged by his conviction in federal court – just days before the election – for lying on Senate disclosure forms to conceal more than $250,000 in gifts and home renovations from an oil field services company.

He was trying to become the first convicted felon to win election to the Senate. Still, he said he will not ask President George W. Bush to give him a pardon for his seven felony convictions.

Tuesday's tally of just over 24,000 absentee and other ballots gave Begich 150,728, or 47.76 percent, to 147,004, or 46.58 percent, for Stevens. There are about 2,500 overseas ballots yet to be counted.

It is a testament to Stevens' popularity – he was once named "Alaskan of the Century" – that he won nearly half the votes, even after his conviction. He routinely brought home the highest number of government dollars per capita in the nation – more than $9 billion in 2006 alone, according to one estimate.


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While this Democrat will certainly support our gun rights, you can be just as sure than any vote for procedures, cloture, and Presidential appointments will go along with Democrat party line.

While not as bad as choice as other states have made, no one party should have total control of the Federal government.

I hope you enjoy your change. I'm thinking of adding this to my sig:

“Now is the time when men work quietly in the fields and women weep softly in the kitchen; the legislature is in session, and no man’s property is safe.”

Or maybe I'll just post it in every thread I see that has anything to do with Congress.

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