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Sen. Ted Stevens Loses Reelection Bid
Still to be settled are races are in Minnesota and Georgia. Minnesota officials formally began a recount yesterday in the race between Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken; the Republican finished 206 votes ahead of the onetime comedian out of 2.9 million ballots cast. In Georgia, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) faces a Dec. 2 runoff against former state representative Jim Martin. Chambliss held a 110,000-vote margin on election night, but his share of the vote did not reach 50 percent, as required by state law.
Stevens, who turned 85 yesterday and was appointed to the Senate in 1968, told reporters yesterday that he was exhausted and had not slept well since his indictment in late July. He added that he had led "three lives": as a senator, a criminal defendant and a candidate for office.
"I wouldn't wish what I've been through on anyone, [not] my worst enemy," said Stevens, who says he is considering appealing his convictions.
Stevens, an iconic figure who helped lead Alaska to statehood in the 1950s, served as chairman of the appropriations, commerce and ethics committees in his 40-year tenure in the Senate. He was known for steering hundreds of billions of dollars to his home state for projects.
But the earmarked projects also drew the scrutiny of federal investigators.
Bill Allen Jr., the former chief executive of an oil services company, Veco, pleaded guilty in May 2007 to bribing a host of Alaskan officials. He testified at Stevens's trial that his company oversaw a massive reconstruction of the senator's home outside Anchorage, raising the A-frame house on stilts and building an entire new floor and wrap-around deck beneath it.
Stevens was charged with not reporting the home rebuilding and other assorted gifts from Allen and other powerful friends on his Senate financial disclosure forms.
A federal jury in the District convicted Stevens on Oct. 27, eight days before most voters would go to the polls in Alaska. He faces a potential jail term, but sentencing has not been set.
Stevens said yesterday that he could not talk about his legal battle, neither with reporters nor even in a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans.
Outside the GOP meeting, he said he planned to tell his colleagues, "It's a nice day. It's a really nice day."