This just in from my colleague Laura McGann, who is traveling with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
A day after Sen. John McCain called for the resignation of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who was convicted yesterday on seven felony corruption charges, Palin said Stevens should step down. Here is Palin’s statement released by the McCain campaign:
After being found guilty on seven felony counts, I had hoped Sen. Stevens would take the opportunity to do the statesman-like thing and erase the cloud that is covering his Senate seat. He has not done so. Alaskans are grateful for his decades of public service but the time has come for him to step aside. Even if elected on Tuesday, Sen. Stevens should step aside to allow a special election to give Alaskans a real choice of who will serve them in Congress.
The conviction had put Palin in a tight spot, as she had worked closely with Stevens, the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, in bringing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of earmarks to Alaska. With just one week left until the election, the verdict — which in tandem with Palin’s recent admonishment in the “Troopergate” scandal serves as a stark reminder to voters of how Alaskan politics functions — could not have come at a worse time for the Republican Party.
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