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Ensign Enlists Supporters for Stevens, Other Races

Sen. John Ensign (Nev.), the head of the Senate GOP’s campaign committee, urged financial backers to come to the aid of Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska) and two other imperiled Republican Senators, even though Ensign said on Election Day he expected Stevens to be expelled from the Senate if voters sent him back to Washington, D.C. “If Ted Stevens happens to get re-elected, I think he will be expelled,” Ensign said Tuesday.

By late Thursday, Stevens held an edge over Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. If Stevens were to win the seat and subsequently resign, Alaska’s GOP Gov. Sarah Palin would appoint his replacement.

In a Thursday e-mail to supporters, Ensign thanked donors for helping fund the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s general election efforts and asked them to help in recounts and runoff races in Alaska, Minnesota and Georgia.

“Thanks to your critical support our Senate firewall held up against a tidal wave of liberal attack ads and the Obama Get-Out-The-Vote machine. But the fight goes on … as three Senate races have yet to be decided,” Ensign said in the e-mail.

Without naming Stevens, Ensign warned that Democrats and their allies are mobilizing lawyers and volunteers for recounts in Minnesota and Alaska.

“Liberals are mobilizing an army of lawyers in Minnesota and Alaska to try to steal these seats they could not win outright on Election Day,” Ensign said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the Lexington Herald-Leader after Stevens’ conviction on seven felony counts in October that the Senate’s longest-serving Republican “should resign immediately,” adding: “If he did not do that … there is a 100 percent certainty that he would be expelled from the Senate.”

In a subsequent statement to reporters provided by McConnell’s office, the Minority Leader extended that timeline to include the appellate process, which could last for months or even years.

“If he is re-elected and the felony charge stands through the appeals process, there is zero chance that a Senator with a felony conviction would not be expelled from the Senate,” McConnell said.

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