Stevens Keeps Slim Lead Amid Alaska Chaos

If he wins, then what? He may be expelled, opening door for Palin
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2008 6:58 PM CST
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, greets supporters in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
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(Newser) – Oh, what a tangled web Ted Stevens is weaving in Alaska. This much we know: In his bid to become the first felon re-elected to the Senate, Stevens leads Mark Begich by a few thousand votes. But with 60,000 absentee ballots still to be counted, it could be a week or more before we know the winner. If Stevens hangs on, that's when things get sticky regarding his Senate seat, the Washington Post reports.

Senate honchos Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have said Stevens would likely be expelled because of his corruption conviction. (Stevens, of course, insists he's not technically convicted of anything until his sentencing, which is postponed until after his appeal.) He could win, then resign, allowing Gov. Sarah Palin to appoint an interim senator (the law's fuzzy here) ahead of a special election. Raising another question: Would Palin herself run? Christopher Orr of the New Republic says it's a "no-brainer" she would.