Election 2008

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Al Grillo/AP
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, right, congratulates Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich on
his nomination as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008.

Stevens, Begich Win Alaska Senate Primaries

August 27, 2008 12:40 PM
by Lindsey Chapman
Both incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Stevens and Democratic challenger Mark Begich easily surpassed a handful of challengers in the Alaska primaries.

Beating the Opposition

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With 61 percent of the precincts counted, Ted Stevens beat out six opponents to win 63 percent of the vote and the Republican senate primary in Alaska. His main challenger from the Democratic primary, Anchorage mayor Mark Begich “won easily” against two challengers, according to United Press International.

This senate race is one of the key elections in the country this year for Democrats. Stevens is the longest-serving Republican in the history of the United States Senate. However, he’s facing some serious legal issues, and Begich is leading in the polls. 

Stevens is scheduled to go on trial in September for corruption charges. The primary should serve to let Sen. Stevens know how Alaskans feel about his legal situation, and provide insight into his chances of winning reelection in November, according to the Fairbanks Daily-News Miner. On Aug. 22, the paper reported, “The key is if he gets more than 50 percent of the vote against his six challengers, or simply finishes ahead of them without breaking that threshold.”

Key Players: Sen. Ted Stevens; Mayor Mark Begich

Ted Stevens
Sen. Stevens faces some uphill battles this election season. He is accused of lying about $250,000 in gifts and home renovations he may have received from an oil company. Stevens pleaded not guilty, and made it clear that he does not want his indictment to get in the way of his reelection campaign.

Other politicians didn’t want his personal situation to affect their campaigns either. Following his indictment, some Republican senators making highly-contested reelection bids announced plans to part with financial contributions Stevens made to their campaigns through his Northern Lights political action committee.

Mark Begich
Mark Begich is currently the mayor of Anchorage, and the city’s first top official to actually be born there. Running on the Democratic ticket, Begich says addressing climate change is one of his top priorities. Interestingly, he has parted from traditional party lines by favoring drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Related Topic: House of Representatives race

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