In the wake of the Justice Department’s decision to drop charges against former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, Alaska’s Governor is joining those making a rather absurd call:
Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) called on Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska ) Thursday to step down from his seat and run in a special election in the wake of the Justice Departmentâ€™s decision to drop corruption charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). Begich narrowly defeated Stevens in 2008, a contest overshadowed by Stevensâ€™ October conviction.
Palinâ€™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: â€œI absolutely agree.â€
When the reporter wrote back to confirm that Palin meant sheâ€™d like to see Begich resign in order to hold a special election, the governor responded: â€œYes.â€
In an email to POLITICO, Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton confirmed the governorâ€™s position. â€œShe absolutely agrees that there should be a special election,â€ Stapleton wrote. â€œStepping down to hold the special election would be the right thing to do.â€
Over at The Next Right, Jon Henke says quite succinctly exactly what I thought when I first heard this last night:
A lot of people wonder who the next leaders of the Republican Party should be. I don’t know. But you know who it shouldn’t be? Anybody who thinks the current elected Senator from Alaska should resign so that the corrupt former Senator Ted Stevens can be brought back to the Senate.
Seriously people, do you really want to see the guy behind the Bridge To Nowhere and one of the Senate’s Kings of Pork back in the Senate ?
Stevens symbolizes much of what was, and apparently still is, wrong with the Republican Party and the fact that Palin seems open to the idea that he should be given another bite at the apple just confirms what I’ve thought about her since September.
James Joyner, meanwhile, addresses the “fairness” issue that some are raising:
The Attorney General dropped the case against Stevens prior to sentencing because of prosecutorial misconduct, not because of evidence exonerating Stevens.
Beyond that, itâ€™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. Themâ€™s unfortunately the breaks. There are no do-overs.
Just ask Gary Condit.
C/P: Below The Beltway