Today, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was convicted of seven charges of corruption. He said, “I’m not stepping down,” but what does it mean for the November 4th election, and especially the minor party candidates in that election? It certainly does not bode well for Stevens, who is up for reelection.
The leading minor party candidate, Alaskan Independence Party candidate Bob Bird, was optimistic:
What I no longer need to guess about is that this campaign for the Senate is going to start gaining attention. I faced three really tough reporters at the Anchorage Daily News today, and I believe it went well, because the Constitution gives us a consistent and coherent message if we follow it. When the interview ended, I was told "Bob, you gave us a lot to ponder" or words to that effect. The questions were about national security/civil liberties, war, Alaska's lands and abortion.
My personal analysis is that the charges will decrease Stevens’ numbers at the polls, and those lost votes will go toward all of his opponents. Those who can’t stomach Stevens might turn to the Democrat, but a lot probably won’t tolerate a Democrat either, for any number of reasons. Even if the Democrat comes out victorious – or if Stevens somehow wins – it will probably be a boon for third parties. Some people may even turn to the Libertarian party candidate David Haase because the Libertarian Party is often associated with Republican-like rhetoric. To someone who is only familiar with party names, the Libertarians could offer an alternative to Stevens. To those more familiar with the candidates, anyone running against Stevens could be an option (that is, if a voter is turning away from Stevens because of these corruption charges).
We will be sure to keep you updated over the next week.