Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Bridge Too Far

Until this week Alaska's senior Senator, Ted Stevens, was probably best known as the sponsor of a $200+ million earmark for a bridge to a nearly uninhabited island in his home state. The longest-serving Republican in the US Senate had become almost a household name for his support of the infamous 'bridge to nowhere'. No longer.

On Tuesday, the 84-year old Republican was indicted by a Federal grand jury on seven felony counts of making false statements on his financial disclosure forms in the years 1999 through 2006. The charges could have hardly come at a worse time. Senator Stevens is in a very tough race for election to a seventh term. He is being challenged by Mark Begich, the Democratic mayor of Anchorage. Even before the news of Stevens' indictment broke, the latest Rasmussen poll (conducted last week) showed Begich leading Stevens by a margin of 50% to 41%. The charges of felony misconduct put Stevens' re-election chances at very near zero.

The pick-up of Stevens' seat in Alaska could bring the Democrats within striking distance of a filibuster-proof 60 seat majority in the next Senate. It's still a very tough climb, but Ted Stevens may have just provided the bridge to sixty seats for the Dems.

1 comment:

Bill Newsome said...

At this point, Democrats can start counting at 55 seats in the senate. Add Begich and we're at 56.

57 - Smith is in trouble in OR
58 - Franken is all the sudden leading in recent polls in MN

59 - Mississippi Wicker vs. Musgrove is a good possibility

60 - KY, NC - either could flip with some luck. KY especially. McConnell at one time was trailing and unable to get above the 50% mark.