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Incumbent Republican Senator Ted Stevens was found guilty today on seven charges for the illegal gifts he received from for home renovations from Veco Corp.
Stevens is allegedly to face up to 5 years in prison. However, it is expected that the Senator will most likely serve very little to no time in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.
Although Stevens is still permitted to campaign against Democratic challenger Mark Begich to preserve his seat, Stevens is facing a very brutal climb in a very short time as election day is just over a week away.
Stevens will still be able to serve on the Senate should he beat Begich on November 4th.
The Democratic Party is jumping at this opportunity to push their filibuster-proof majority in Congress. Look for a hike in campaign funds and ad campaigns over the next few days from Begich aiming to capitalize on his rival's unfortunate circumstances.
Tom Udall (D) took his campaign to Valencia County last Wednesday and made the pursuit of alternative energy the priority of his campaign for the the Senate seat.
And, while most voters across the nation are concentrating on the economic crisis, Udall proposes clean, alternative energy initiatives as an integral component of regaining our national economic stability.
"We need to reinvest in solar and wind energy in New Mexico. If we concentrate on that, we can grow jobs right here."
Among Udall's own proposals to these ends are his work alongside New Mexico State University to develop a biofuel from algae.
Udall's most poignant moment in the stump speech that may carry more weight in his opposition to Republican candidate Steve Pearce is his opposition to the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.
"The bailout took care of Wall Street. But it didn't take care of Main Street...I've applied one simple rule (while serving in New Mexico). Do what's right for New Mexico and do what's right for our country."
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican challenger Steve Sauerberg met tonight for the first (and only) full-length debate of the Illinois Senate race.
The most heated exchange occurred when Sauerberg criticized Durbin of putting the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in danger by questioning the torture procedures in Guantanamo.
Durbin responded, ""I don't know where the bottom is anymore in your campaign. Why don't you debate the issues? Common decency still works."
To which Sauerberg said, "It does still work, and you should have shown it in your remarks about our troops."
Yet, despite the political hooks and jabs, the two offered stark contrasts in their positions on the bailout with Durbin calling for "more to minimize future busts in the financial system" (according to the Chicago Tribune) and Sauerberg "calling for tax cuts and minimal government regulation."
Durbin's most effective move was to criticize Sauerberg's health care proposals of being too "risky" by suggesting we get rid of the Medicare and Medicaid systems and seek out a "new approach" similar to the government aid involved in buying a new car.
At a fundraiser in Goldsboro last week, Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole defended herself against Hagan's attacks that she has spent too little time in North Carolina and too much time in Washington.
She emphasized the amount of time and ground she's covered in her campaign: "The campaign's going well. I've been in all of the 100 counties at least twice. And it's good because you have a chance to hear what's on people's minds -- their concerns."
She then went on to proclaim that she is "very proud of being a North Carolinian" and that her "roots are deep, deep in this state."
The specifics of her defense in Goldsboro in particular were her efforts in the process of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process, which added nearly 300 new airmen to the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Dole closed her statements by aiming forward as she detailed a plan to reform guest worker programs that will work for the N.C. farmers and leaving the issue of 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants as a second priority to nurturing the North Carolina economy.
""We're not going to be able to round up and deport 20 million people," she said. "You have to go part by part, and it will resolve itself."
It is only a matter of time before politics turn dirty and Kay Hagan (D) has recently found herself victim of a smear tactic in the form of a pamphlet released by the North Carolina Republican State Executive Committee.
The ad carries pictures of Kay Hagan in the company of Godless Americans PAC with a story that reads:
""Liberal Kay Hagan flew to Boston to pocket campaign cash from leaders of the Godless Americans PAC. What is Godless Americans PAC? Godless Americans Political Action Committee is a left-wing organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to 'Mobilizing America's nonbelievers for political activism.' They actively support political candidates who are Atheists and who also support their liberal agenda to remove 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance and force the Boy Scouts to accept atheists and homosexuals as troop leaders. Their goal is to remove any reference to God in the public arena, including eliminating the Christmas holiday.
"Kay Hagan & the Godless Americans PAC. Liberal Kay Hagan flew to Boston to pocket campaign cash from leaders of the Godless Americans PAC, Wendy Kaminer and Woody Kaplan. They held a private fundraiser for Kay Hagan at their home in Boston, Massachusetts on September 15th. In North Carolina, Kay Hagan says she shares our values. But, behind our backs she's the guest of honor at a fundraiser hosted by the most vile, radical liberals in America."
"We can't trust Kay Hagan to defend our North Carolina values."
The truth behind the story is that Hagan did in fact attend a fundraiser held by Wendy Kaminer and Woody Kaplan but she does not necessarily support the mission of Godless Americans PAC as the article suggests.
She is an elder at a Presbyterian church; annually celebrates Christmas with her family "at a home for severely handicapped people" (newsobserver.com); and her son is an Eagle Scout.
The prosecution rests today in the case against Republican Sen. Ted Stevens' financial dealings with Veco Corp. after three weeks of testimonies from the Veco workers associated with the Senator, the most integral of which was former chief Bill Allen.
Allen's testimony stated that the controversial renovations to Stevens' cabin were made "to make room for visiting grandchildren" (according to the report in the Washington Post.)
He mentioned that the Senator would occasionally request invoices for the project but that he "ignored the requests because he liked him too much and the senator never ended up paying VECO."
The defense is set to present their case after the request to acquit Stevens before the case goes before a jury is heard by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. The defense has scheduled Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) and former Secretary of State Colin Powell as witnesses.
Democrat Jeff Merkley received the support of Basic Rights Oregon, a gay rights advocacy group.
The endorsement makes sure to not overlook Republican Sen. Gordon Smith's efforts on behalf of gay rights but noted that the hate-crimes bill resultant from the hate crimes and murder committed against Matthew Shepard (which Smith supported) failed to pass.
The final straw, however, came with Smith's support for Measure 36, which held the ban against same-sex marriage and sent a mixed message to the gay and lesbian voters in the state of Oregon.
According to BRO director Jeana Frazzini, "There is only one thing that fair-minded Oregonians can count on from Gordon Smith, and that is that every six years, he will roll out a hate crimes advertisement in the Portland media
market in an effort to look like a moderate. But most national and local gay organizations know the truth about Gordon Smith, and that's why they decline to endorse him.''
In contrast to Smith, Merkley has effectively passed both an anti-discriminatory bill and an approval of domestic unions in the state.
Republican Senator Gordon Smith has included a piece written by a Democratic voter in The Hillsboro Argus highlighting his support and legislative efforts on behalf of the homeless and senior citizens.
The article cites Gordon's establishment of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Foundation after the tragic death of son, which contributes funds to Safe Haven, a homeless youth shelter in Hillsboro.
Additionally, the article mentions Smith's cooperation with fellow legislator Ron Wyden in pushing major proposals for Medicare. For example, Smith (a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging) and Wyden both objected to the proposed cuts to Medicare and have argued against the unfair sales practices of Medicare Advantage plans.
Two of the more recent poll results are showing Shaheen's lead over Republican Sen. John Sununu holding fast if not increasing.
A poll conducted for the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College by Abt SRBI in New York City has Shaheen leading 49 percent to Sununu's 35 percent.
The latest Rasmussen results have her up 50 percent to 45 percent.
The stability and/or increase of support behind Shaheen illustrates the mounting problems Republicans are having gaining voter support subsequent to the market fallouts of the past few weeks.
At a business forum held this week, Republican Senator John Sununu and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen took issue with each other's positions on the $700 billion bailout of the financial markets.
The criticism of both candidates was the lack of leadership exhibited by the other. Jeanne Shaheen pointed out that Sununu spent the days leading up to, the day before, and the morning of the final Senate vote on the bailout campaigning in New Hampshire.
She said, "If I had been in the United States Senate, I would've stayed in Washington and I would've worked on that bill and done everything I could to get it right."
Sununu's critique of Shaheen aimed at her inability to decide for or against the bailout. He defended his own decision against her argument by offering an explanation for his support of the bailout:
"Those provisions were added through hard work and leadership in a bipartisan way. Is it a perfect bill? No. But it is necessary. And to simply say, 'I wish Congress had kept working on it to get it right, but then not really have any suggestions for how to improve it other than vaguely referring to taxpayer protection, that isn't leadership."
Sununu went on to detail his continued support for the partial privatization of Social Security despite the economic crisis:
"I think allowing workers the option of taking some of their Social Security taxes into an IRA or 401k plan - with oversight, with regulation - in the long-term is better for them because they know they control those resources, they know they'll be there for them when they retire."