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Alaska Senate Update

A Commentary By Larry Sabato

Thursday, July 31, 2008

It looks like a clean sweep for Alaska in the Senate and House. Both of the Republican incumbents, Sen. Ted Stevens , in office since 1968, and Rep. Don Young , who has held his seat since 1973, appear to be going down to defeat. Stevens' indictment on corruption charges July 29th makes it extremely difficult for him to win another term. He may well win the GOP nomination on August 26, since he has only token opposition, but already key Republicans are organizing to ask him to step down as the party standard-bearer.

If he does not--and some think Stevens will insist on fighting it out to the bitter end--then Democrat Mark Begich is all but elected. If Stevens resigns as the nominee, the GOP will try to find a competitive candidate, but that may be hard. Begich is well funded and leading in the polls; when you look like a winner, few want to oppose you. As for Don Young, we continue to believe he will lose in the GOP primary to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell , who will likely hold the House seat for Republicans in November. How the mighty are falling, even in seniority-addicted Alaska.

This entire piece of prose is pure speculation, of course. But hasn't it been fun?

Larry J. Sabato is the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

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