What Happens When the Ted Stevens Verdict is Handed Down?
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 10:12:57 AM EDT
With the trial of Ted Stevens beginning next month, and a verdict likely in the case before election day, what happens to the Republican presidential ticket if and when the case comes to a close in mid- or late-October.
There was an extent to which John McCain had an opportunity to deflect criticism over the trial of Stevens, the longest serving Republican Senator in history, given the fact that the two haven't tended to be particularly close on Capitol Hill. However, by picking Sarah Palin, McCain is wholeheartedly embracing the Stevens machine, which is in tatters in Alaska following not only the indictment of the senior Senator but also the cases against and investigations into state legislators close to him (including his son Ben Stevens, the former President of the state Senate). Take a look, for instance, at the ad Stevens cut for Palin at a key point in her nascent general election campaign in 2006:
But it's not just the case that Stevens has been a key supporter of Palin, helping her move up from the mayor of a town with a population of less than 10,000 residents to become Governor. Palin has also been a key ally of Stevens -- even after it was well known that he was under federal investigation. Here's the two of them campaigning together just last month, for instance:
With Palin so closely aligned with Stevens -- and under an ethics investigation herself -- what happens if and when a verdict in the Stevens trial comes down, say, on October 20th, roughly two weeks from election day? What if it comes down on the Thursday before election day? I'm not sure we know the exact answer -- but I've got a feeling that such an outcome wouldn't be a great one for the McCain campaign.
Update [2008-8-29 14:20:13 by Jonathan Singer]: Don't think the McCain campaign is worried about Palin's ties to Stevens? Then why was the ad above featuring Stevens stumping and vouching for Palin mysteriously scrubbed from Palin's website? (Nice catch, TPM!)