Palin: Begich Should Resign
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin thinks Senator Mark Begich, who narrowly defeated incumbent Ted Stevens last November shortly after the latter was convicted on corruption charges, should step down and agree to a rematch now that the Justice Department has decided to drop the case against Stevens.
Palin’s call came after a reporter at the Fairbanks News Miner emailed her a copy of a statement by Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich calling for Begich to step down.
Asked for her response, Palin simply wrote back: “I absolutely agree.”
When the reporter wrote back to confirm that Palin meant she’d like to see Begich resign in order to hold a special election, the governor responded: “Yes.”
In an email to POLITICO, Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton confirmed the governor’s position. “She absolutely agrees that there should be a special election,” Stapleton wrote. “Stepping down to hold the special election would be the right thing to do.”
In the statement Palin was provided, Ruedrich said that “the only reason Mark Begich won the election in November is because a few thousand Alaskans thought that Sen. Ted Stevens was guilty of seven felonies.” “A special election will allow Alaskans to have a real, non-biased, credible process where the most qualified person could win, without the manipulation of the Department of Justice,” he added.
It’s not just the voters who thought Stevens was guilty of seven felonies but an Alaska jury. The Attorney General dropped the case against Stevens prior to sentencing because of prosecutorial misconduct, not because of evidence exonerating Stevens.
Beyond that, it’s not uncommon for narrow elections to be decided based on dubious knowledge on the part of the voters. Candidates are often smeared with unfounded charges by their opponents and occasionally even charged with actual crimes for which they are subsequently exonerated. Them’s unfortunately the breaks. There are no do-overs.
Needless to say, I agree with Jon Henke that sticking up for Ted Stevens is not a plank I’d like to see the Republican Party run on.