ELIZABETHTOWN — Republican U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens should quit now or risk a swift expulsion since being convicted Monday on corruption charges.
"I think he should resign immediately," McConnell, Kentucky's senior senator, told the Herald-Leader Tuesday night after a Hardin County GOP rally. "If he did not do that ... there is a 100 percent certainty that he would be expelled from the Senate."
A jury found Stevens, 84, and the longest serving Republican in Senate history, guilty on seven charges of lying on his official financial disclosure forms to hide gifts and more than $250,000 in home improvements paid for by an oil executive.
Several other key Republicans, including presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, called for Stevens to step down now, even before Stevens faces the verdict of Alaska voters on Election Day. Stevens has been locked in a tight campaign with Democrat Mark Begich, the mayor of Anchorage, since he was first charged in July.
If Stevens wins, then steps down, a special election would replace him.
"If a resignation is going to happen, the nation gains nothing by having it happen before the election," said Mead Treadwell, an Alaska Republican and longtime Stevens supporter who is among the state's largest McCain donors, according to The Associated Press.
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