Stevens Expulsion Vote Postponed
By Ben Pershing and Paul Kane
An internal GOP vote on whether to expel convicted Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska) from the Senate, originally slated to happen today, has been postponed, as his fellow Republicans wait for all the ballots to be counted in Stevens' reelection race.
The Senate Republican Conference is meeting right now, and had been scheduled to take up a resolution by Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) calling for Stevens, who was convicted last month on seven felony counts for failing to disclose gifts, to be kicked out of the Senate. An expulsion would require a vote of the full Senate, but if Republicans decide to boot the Alaskan, his fate would be sealed.
But the election results may end up doing DeMint's job for him. Though Stevens led in the balloting at the close of Election Day, the current tally in Alaska now has the incumbent trailing Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) by 1,022 votes, with about 24,000 ballots remaining to be counted today. If Stevens loses, DeMint may not bother pushing forward to expel the veteran lawmaker.
"After talking with many of my colleagues, it's clear there are sufficient votes to pass the resolution regarding Senator Stevens," DeMint said in a statement released this morning. "The question now is timing. Some who support the resolution believe we should address this after the results of his election are confirmed in Alaska. For this reason, I will ask the Conference to postpone the vote on Senator Stevens until Thursday."
UPDATE 11:40 a.m. ET: Stevens just spoke to the Capitol press corps for the first time since his conviction last month.
He left the ongoing GOP organizational meeting to go to the men's restroom, and afterward said he did not plan to say anything of substance about his legal predicament to his colleagues.
"I plan to say, 'It's a nice day. It's a really nice day,'" Stevens said.
"I wouldn't wish what I'm going through on anyone, my worst enemy," he added.
Stevens said the Alaska Republican Party would automatically ask for a recount for his re-election if he ends up losing by 0.5 percent or less to Begich.
"No, no, no," Stevens said when asked if he would seek a pardon for his offenses.
He said he's been "leading three lives" the past few months - criminal defendent, candidate for election, U.S. senator.
Stevens also said he's not had a good night's sleep in four months -- he was indicted July 29.
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