Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska has been indicted by a Washington, D.C. grand jury. The seven-count indictment “relate[s] to his holding of public office.” The Justice Department will hold a press conference to announce the indictment in a few minutes.
I have no idea whether the charges against Stevens have merit or how serious they are, but he is up for re-election this year and has trailed in recent polls. The Republican Party can ill afford to lose what should be a safe seat in Alaska. Is it too late to find a new candidate? I don’t know.
PAUL adds: According to Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, the filing deadline in Alaska has already passed and Stevens is one of six candidates competing in the state’s August. 26 primary. Thus, the best possible scenario for Republicans might be for Stevens to win the primary and then step aside, since this could conceivably allow the party to replace him with a candidate of their choice for the general election. Cillizza adds that if anyone other than Stevens wins the primary, Republicans presumably would be stuck with a second tier (at best) candidate against a well-funded and well-known Democrat, Archorage mayor Mark Begich.
MORE (from Paul): According to CQ Politics, the indictment of Stevens puts Republicans in serious jeopardy of losing his Senate seat to the Democrats this year. It has changed its assessment of the race from “leans Republican” to “leans Democratic.”
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