DeMint Moves to Oust Stevens

Posted November 13, 2008 at 12:45pm

Senate Republicans will decide whether or not to kick embattled Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) out of the Republican Conference at a members-only meeting on Tuesday — his 85th birthday.

Republicans will meet behind closed doors at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday to decide Stevens’ fate. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) plans to offer a motion that would oust Stevens from the Conference and take away his committee assignments.

Stevens relinquished his seniority on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, when he was initially indicted on seven counts of falsifying information on his disclosure forms. He was later convicted on those counts.

According to a Republican source, Stevens can be present at the meeting and give a speech in his defense. Other members can also speak in favor of or against DeMint’s motion. The source said the meeting could last for several hours.

“I’m hopeful that the election [in Alaska] will resolve this, perhaps, and we won’t have to deal with it,” Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) said today. Stevens currently trails Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) as vote-counting continues in Alaska.

Martinez added that he had not made a decision on how he would vote on Tuesday if a motion is made to kick Stevens out of the GOP Conference.

“I’m just waiting to make a decision until I know what’s happened in the election,” Martinez said. “And perhaps Sen. Stevens should be given a chance to speak, but I think a convicted felon is pretty inconsistent with serving in the United States Senate.”

Senate Republicans are also scheduled to vote for their leadership at the Tuesday meeting.

Emily Pierce contributed to this report.