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DSCC Urges Candidates to Hit Ties to Stevens

Senate Democrats are prepping their candidates on how to respond to the upcoming verdict on Sen. Ted Stevens’ (R-Alaska) corruption trial, instructing them not to “lose the opportunity to link your opponent to their now-convicted colleague” if the jury finds him guilty before Election Day.

The longest-serving Republican in the Senate is charged with seven counts of lying about gifts on his financial disclosure forms, mostly in the form of improvements to his Girdwood, Alaska, home. Jury deliberations for Stevens’ three-week long trial began Wednesday.

In an e-mail to an undetermined number of Senate campaigns, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Matt Miller advises candidates to call on their opponents to “support immediately stripping Stevens of all his committee assignments” if the jury renders a guilty verdict.

“Senate Republicans’ control his committee assignments and they shouldn’t allow a member who has been convicted of a crime to continue to serve,” Miller wrote. “NOTE: while you could call for your opponent to support his complete expulsion from the Senate, until you see where Senate Democrats are going, this position is a bit more risky.”

Stevens surrendered his ranking position on a committee and subcommittee after his indictment.

Miller also advised candidates to ask their opponents to oppose a pardon for Stevens from President Bush.

“This is a chance to not just go after your opponent, but bring Bush into the equation as well,” he wrote.

Miller also said that if Stevens is convicted, Democrats should urge Republicans to “return every last cent of Stevens’ cash” from their campaign bank account.

“We’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything from the jury,” MIller concluded. “Of course, if he is acquitted, nevermind …”

Miller confirmed that he did write the e-mail this morning but would not comment specifically on its content.

“Republican Senators have refused to distance themselves from their indicted colleague, with many of them continuing to hold on to his campaign donations, and they deserve to be held accountable for that,” he said.

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