So long, Sen. Stevens

Republicans lost another seat in the U.S. Senate Tuesday, and that isn’t good news for those of us who would prefer not to see one party — either party — have complete control over both the executive and legislative branches of government.

But the Republican who lost his seat Tuesday was Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, and few people of either party are going to mourn his demise.

The final tally of votes in the Nov. 4 election for the Alaska Senate seat was released Tuesday. It showed Stevens losing to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich by just over 2,000 votes. Stevens saidWednesday he would not seek a recount and is conceding that he lost.

A major reason for that loss is the fact that Stevens has been convicted of seven felonies involving corruption and lying related to home-remodeling assistance he accepted from an energy company executive. Even if he had been re-elected, top Senate leaders, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said a convicted felon would not be allowed to serve in the upper chamber. His colleagues would have expelled him, setting up the likelihood of a special election in Alaska to fill his seat.

Also, Stevens was one of the most notorious earmarks adherents in the Senate. The Bridge to Nowhere was just the most infamous of the considerable pork he brought home to Alaska.

As we said earlier, Stevens represents much of what is wrong with the Republican Party — big-spending ways coupled with his too-cozy relationships with industry officials. We aren’t surprised that the final vote tallies showed that a narrow majority of Alaskans voted for Begich over Stevens. Stevens didn’t deserve to keep his Senate seat.

We remain hopeful, however, that the Democrats won’t reach the 60-seat margin in the Senate they need for a filibuster-proof majority. Whether that occurs will depend on the recount in the Minnesota Senate race, followed by the runoff election in the battle for a Georgia Senate seat.


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