Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ted Stevens Indicted; Mixed News for Mark Begich

Via the tubes, it's just come out that Ted Stevens (R-AK), has been indicted by a grand jury.

Obviously, should Ted Stevens manage to stay in the race until November, Mark Begich will, without a doubt, become the first Democrat elected to Congress from Alaska since 2008 Democratic AND Libertarian presidential candidate Mike Gravel.

But there's the issue of the primary, which there is a small possibility (now that he's been indicted) that he loses to libertarian Republican Dave Cuddy-especially if the Paul brigades turn out disproportionately.

More likely (and more worrisome) is that Stevens steps down and is replaced on the ballot by a more credible Republican (assuming one exists). Of course, there is the question of whether such a move is allowed. I know for a fact it's allowed in New Jersey (most recently when Andy Unanue dropped out, allowing the NJ Republican party to appoint, in his place on the primary ballot, my former Congressman Dick Zimmer; notably, it was also done in 2002, when Torricelli dropped out amid new revelations of severe corruption and Frank Lautenberg once again saved the New Jersey Democratic Party from itself). Illinois also allows such a move; Bill Lipinski used this move to get his DINO son Dan Lipinski the Democratic nomination and thus his seat. Lane Evans (though in fairness, he was very ill/dying) used it to allow the party committees to pick Phil Hare as a replacement (no complaints there; Phil's got a great voting record), and I believe the Republicans used it in Illinois' 11th district to get themselves Martin Ozinga.

However, we know some states don't allow it. When Tom DeLay dropped out of the TX-22 race in 2006, the courts ruled that he could not be replaced on the ballot, even when he "moved" to Northern Virginia. This forced Shelley Sekula-Gibbs to mount a write-in campaign and thus handed the seat to Nick Lampson.

I don't know whether Alaska has provisions like Texas or whether it has provisions like New Jersey and Illinois, and I'm uncertain where I would go to find out. I suppose we'll see what happens.

Update: Per Adam B at Daily Kos: he can be replaced.

I wonder whether former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, who notably endorsed Lisa Murkowski's primary opponent in 2002, will be brought in. There doesn't seem to be any other statewide official they can run.

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