In some ways it is unbelievable to think that a candidate for the United States Senate, fresh off of seven felony convictions, could win reelection. Never underestimate the power of resentment and incumbency. At the moment it appears that felonious Sen. Ted Stevens will be reelected to an eighth term. Sen. Stevens joins a few other scandal plagued lawmakers winning reelection.
Stevens’ congressional partner, Rep. Don Young, under investigation by the Justice Department for various earmark schemes, appears headed back to Congress. Also, Rep. William Jefferson, facing a 16 count indictment on corruption charges, won handily in his New Orleans district. (Update: Jefferson’s election was actually delayed due to new rules in Louisiana related to elections and hurricanes.)
Two Florida lawmakers embroiled in scandals did fail to win reelection. Rep. Tom Feeney, one of the last of the Abramoffian congressmen, lost badly. Feeney had to cut a commercial during the campaign in which he apologized for going on a golfing trip to Scotland that was secretly paid for by Jack Abramoff. Freshman Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney, caught in a TMZ style adultery scandal, was crushed in his attempted reelection.
Despite his likely victory, Sen. Stevens will be expelled, or forced to retire, from the U.S. Senate. As Yoda might say, “Convictions on felony counts do not a Senator make.” Speeding up the process may be the desire for Republicans to finally purge their ranks of the members tainted by corruption. Republican Sen. John Ensign has already expressed the likely position of the Republican caucus, stating that expulsion would not wait until after Sen. Stevens’ appeal process is complete.