Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, the Republican lawmaker convicted on felony corruption charges in October, officially conceded the Senate race to Democrat Mark Begich on Wednesday (one day after his 85th birthday).
“Given the number of ballots that remain to be counted, it is apparent the election has been decided and Mayor Begich has been elected,” Stevens said in a news release.
“It was a tough fight that would not have been possible without the help of so many Alaskans — people who I am honored to call my friends. … I wish Mayor Begich and his family well. My staff and I stand willing to help him prepare
for his new position,” he added.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also congratulated Begich on Wednesday.
“I extend my congratulations to Mark Begich and his family. This is a new era for Alaska, and I look forward to working with Mark on the many issues that are important to our state. I am confident he will add a compelling new voice to the U.S. Senate,” Palin said in a statement.
Palin praised Stevens, saying his “tireless efforts on behalf of the state he loves have benefited all those who call it home.”
With 100 percent of Alaska’s precincts reporting, Begich, the mayor of Anchorage, had roughly 48 percent of the vote, compared with about 47 percent for Stevens, according to CNN’s latest tally. [via]