No matter what happens, we are witnessing the end of Ted Stevens. Either he loses the election to Mark Begich, or he wins the election and faces expulsion by his peers. Neither scenario is one he would have chosen, or that Alaskans would ever have believed before his Girdwood home was raided by the FBI in 2006.
I hope that Mark Begich wins this seat for a variety of reasons. But, I think in the deepest recesses of his soul, Ted Stevens hopes he wins too. Stevens is a tough nut, but I suspect that the humiliation of being voted out by his Senate colleagues would be a lot tougher on him than losing an election.
The first official action of the Senate, a meeting in which senators will vote via secret ballot whether to oust Stevens from the Republican conference is scheduled to take place Tuesday morning, before the vote totals are even completed in his home state of Alaska.
Ejection from the Republican conference means losing his committee assignments and his vote on party matters.
Following his felony convictions in federal court before the election, Stevens was forced to step down as the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee and on an Appropriations subcommittee. He now appears in danger of losing his seat to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich
The conference meeting is currently scheduled for Tuesday, the day after Congress returns from its elections recess. While the vote is on the agenda for 9:30 a.m., it’s not clear whether it will take place. Many Republican senators say they would rather wait for the final election results so they don’t have to cast an uncomfortable vote on whether Stevens should stay in their conference.
Yes, we wouldn’t want to make them feel “uncomfortable” by voting on a secret ballot to eject a convicted felon from the Republican conference. For those Republican Senators who may be waffling on this decision, I have seven words for you. Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, aaannnnnd……guilty.
Whatever comes to pass, it won’t be long before Ted Stevens is packing up his undeclared massage chair, his fish sculpture, his stained glass window, and the rest. His Incredible Hulk collectibles, and the rest of his office will be finding its way to cardboard boxes, and leaving the Senate building after more than 40 years.
It’s a new chapter for Alaska, regardless of the outcome.