Not to rain on our post-election parade...but here's some food for thought...Among the yet-to-decided U.S. Senate races is the Alaska seat where 7-count convicted felon Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) is seeking re-election. The last count I've seen shows him with a modest lead.
While it seems quite likely that Stevens would face a likely expulsion from the Senate if he wins re-election -- even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) guaranteed it -- I now wonder whether some Senate Republicans and Democrats might back-off such a move given the possibility that Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) might then appoint herself (or make a deal with her LG for the appointment) to any vacancy created as a way of remaining relevant on the national stage?
Would some members of that chamber believe that Stevens remaining is the lesser of two evils and, conversely, might some Palinists push hard for expulsion for this very reason?
Thanks to former Senator Frank Murkowski's (R-AK) decision to appoint his own daughter to his seat after he was elected governor, Alaska law now requires a special election within 90 days. So, Palin could either appoint herself (or more likely resign and have her LG appoint her), or simply skip the appointment, call a special election, and run.
Regardless, and back to my original point, a Stevens' vacancy as a result of expulsion will likely result in Palin being the next senator from Alaska and you have to figure that will be part of a strategic decision on all sides as far as how to proceed.
Here's how Alaska law reads:
Sec. 15.40.140. Condition and time of calling special election.
When a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator or United States representative, the governor shall, by proclamation, call a special election to be held on a date not less than 60, nor more than 90, days after the date the vacancy occurs. However, if the vacancy occurs on a date that is less than 60 days before or is on or after the date of the primary election in the general election year during which a candidate to fill the office is regularly elected, the governor may not call a special election.
Sec. 15.40.145. Temporary appointment of United States senator. [See revisor's note]..
When a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator, the governor may, at least five days after the date of the vacancy but within 30 days after the date of the vacancy, appoint a qualified individual to fill the vacancy temporarily until the results of the special election called to fill the vacancy are certified. If a special election is not called for the reasons set out in AS 15.40.140 , the individual shall fill the vacancy temporarily until the results of the next general election are certified.
Mark Nickolas is the Managing Editor of Political Base, and this story was from his original post, "Will Prospect Of Palin In The Senate Save Stevens From Expulsion?"