The Associated Press has just called the Alaska Senate race for Anchorage’s Democratic Mayor Mark Begich.
Congratulations United States Senator Elect Begich!
This victory for the Democrats is a major defeat for Ted Stevens and the Republican party. Since first being elected to a full term in 1972, Sen. Stevens has never received less than 66% of the votes and is currently the longest serving Republican in the Senate. After his conviction on 7 felony counts a week before the election, Stevens found himself in a tough spot — he was way behind in the polls.
Undeterred by, and seemingly in denial about his conviction, Stevens stayed in the race. On November 5th, it looked like Stevens had miraculously pulled out a victory, despite what the polls had projected.
The incumbent Republican’s apparent victory was short-lived though. The number of uncounted Alaskan ballots kept rising by the day. One week after election day, it topped 90,000 — about 30% of the total votes. All of a sudden, Stevens’ 3,257 vote lead did not seem very large, victory was in sight for Begich.
After the ballot counting on Nov. 12th was completed, the tables had turned and Begich had not only erased his three thousand plus deficit, he was ahead by 817 votes. Things were not looking good for Mr. Toobz as most of the 40,000 ballots that had yet to be counted were from Begich-friendly areas.
More results were released on Nov. 14th. With 90% of the votes counted, Begich’s lead had increased to 1,022.
More than 90 percent of the votes are now counted, and Friday’s count of absentee and questioned ballots could have been Stevens’ best chance to make a comeback. That’s because it included all the ballots left from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, where Stevens has enjoyed his most unwavering support.
However, with 24,000 votes still left to be counted, it was still too early to celebrate.
Today, Alaska election officials counted the remainder of the votes. The first result they released was more bad news for Stevens, Begich had increased his lead to 2,374 votes. The next vote tally was released later in the evening. The result? Another Democratic win!
Happy Birthday Senator Tubes.