A turbulent deliberation period fueled speculation that Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) was going to escape his trial on charges of lying about value received that went unreported on required reports, but in the end, the jury found him guilty on all seven counts. The judge has not decided when sentencing will be, although most seem to doubt that a lengthy prison stay will be involved (each count carries the possibility of five years). Of immediate concern is the fate of his re-election bid for another six years in the Senate on top of the 40 he has already served. Democrats would love to claim the seat and have a relatively strong candidate in Anchorage mayor Mark Begich (D-AK).
RBR/TVBR observation: Stevens has been a generally reliable vote when broadcast interests are before the Senate Commerce Committee, although many issues tend not to break down along party lines. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has been filling in the Ranking Member role while he dealt with the trial. Now we’ll have to see if he is re-elected despite the conviction, which remains a possibility, and if Republican leadership keeps Hutchison in the party’s leadership role in this key committee.