Latest Count: Begich Still Up

Posted November 14, 2008 at 7:59pm

With state officials continuing to tally early, absentee and questionable ballots in Alaska’s Senate race, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) continued to hold a slim lead over Republican Sen. Ted Stevens on Friday.

According to the latest vote tallies, Begich had 138,959 votes to Stevens’ 137,937. State officials were expected to suspend the vote counting until Tuesday. Begich’s total accounts for 47.37 percent of the vote while Stevens has taken 47.02 percent.

Stevens was found guilty of seven felony charges in federal court in the days leading up to this month’s election. If he wins re-election, he faces a near certain effort by GOP and Democratic leaders in the Senate to expel him from the body.

While the latest tallies show Begich up, a recount will take place if the margin between the two candidates remains under one half of one percent. A Democratic campaign source said Friday evening the state is expected to complete its first count of ballots Tuesday, and it was unclear when a recount would begin or how long the process could take.

State officials have nearly 25,000 votes still to be counted, accounting for 7 to 8 percent of the total votes cast.

According to the Democratic source, 15,000 of those votes are absentee and questionable ballots from the Anchorage area, while about 8,000 ballots from the Kenai Peninsula and Juneau account for the bulk of remaining outstanding votes.