Earlier Today: Felonious Senator Says Will Not Ask Bush for Pardon, Still Has 'Faith' He's Going to Win Re-Election
Final Update: Stevens Concedes to Begich...
By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2008, 5:01pm PT  

UPDATE: AP calls race for Begich...

Mark Begich, the Democratic Anchorage mayor, has defeated Sen. Ted Stevens in a closely contested, see-saw race for the United States Senate, according to Associated Press projections.

The Division of Elections has almost concluded an initial count of absentee, early in-person and questioned ballots Tuesday. That, coupled with the numbers culled from Election Day, gave Begich a 3,724-vote lead over Stevens, the 40-year Republican incumbent, with about 2,500 ballots left to count.

Earlier tonight from Bloomberg:

Democratic challenger Mark Begich extended his lead over Alaska Senator Ted Stevens with about 10,000 ballots still to be counted, according to the state's elections division.

Begich now leads by 2,374 votes as the remaining ballots are tallied from the Nov. 4 election, according to division Director Gail Fenumiai. Officials said they may complete counting about 7,700 absentee ballots today with another 2,500 ballots from military families overseas yet to arrive.

Republicans in the Senate postponed their vote today to consider removing the felonious Stevens' committee assignments, since indications are that he's going to lose anyway at this point. Plus, it was his 85th birthday.

But he's not deterred. According to AP, "Stevens revealed that he will not ask President George W. Bush to give him a pardon for his seven felony convictions."

And Bloomberg says, in regard to his re-election prospects at this point, that he told reporters: "I still have faith I'm going to win."

Ready for a recount, Ted? (Actually a count, since all of the ballots have only been tabulated by faulty Diebold op-scanners at this point.) If so, we're happy to help.

UPDATE 11/20/08: Unfortunately, Uncle Ted concedes. We would have welcomed that recount. Instead, we'll just have to be content this time with the end of an era. From Seattle Times:

Sen. Ted Stevens conceded the election for U.S. Senate to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich on Wednesday, bringing to an end his 40 years as the dominant force in Alaska politics and the longest-serving Republican in Senate history.

Stevens' office issued a written statement congratulating Begich, a Democrat who ran as a change candidate in the face of federal ethics charges against the man many Alaskans call "Uncle Ted."

"Given the number of ballots that remain to be counted, it is apparent the election has been decided and Mayor Begich has been elected. My family and I wish to thank the thousands of Alaskans who stood by us and who supported my re-election," said Stevens, 85.

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