The outcome of Alaska Republican Ted Stevens’ bid for re-election to the Senate may not be known for several days as thousands of absentee ballots remained to be counted.
Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, was convicted last week of violating federal ethics laws by lying on financial disclosure forms about gifts he received.
With 100 percent of Alaska’s precincts reporting, but some absentee, provisional and early ballots still uncounted, Stevens was ahead of Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich by 3,257 votes as of Friday morning. Should Stevens prevail and should he reject calls for his resignation, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said that Stevens would face expulsion.
The Senate has expelled only 15 members since 1789. In recent years, senators who have run afoul of the law generally have resigned rather than face expulsion, a step that requires 67 votes. We reported that Stevens said after his conviction that he would not step down voluntarily.