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I was surprised that Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin was dragging her feet in demanding Senator Ted Stevens' resignation from Congress--even after he was convicted of seven counts of falsifying financial disclosure records Monday.  She has consistently portrayed herself as a reformer who has no qualms about attacking federal government corruption.  She was elected governor over the corrupt incumbent Republican and a Democratic challenger.  Her response, though, to his eventual conviction seemed flat-footed even though she had seen it coming for two years. His Republican colleagues were quick to call for him to step down.  Why then did she hesitate to ask him to quit when the jury found him guilty?
 Probably because as Governor of Alaska she would have to name his replacement.

While campaigning with Presidential candidate John McCain as his running mate, she has most likely kept an eye on Mr. Stevens' seat.  If the longest-serving Republican, Stevens who has represented Alaska for 40 years, resigned who would replace him?  She may have considered appointing herself.  Or would she have to resign and then be appointed by the succeeding Governor to serve in Washington, D.C.?
 As absurd as it may seem, the previous Governor of Alaska Frank Murkowski appointed his daughter, Lisa, to his own Senate seat which he gave up after being elected Governor.  Could Sarah Palin get Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell to take over and name her to replace Stevens?  If Stevens resigned before the Nov. 4 election, the state Republicans would name the candidate to face Democratic challenger Mark Begich.  Then she could run against Mr. Begich concurrently with her run as VP.
 If Stevens stuck it out and was re-elected then resigned (or was booted out of the Senate), then Mrs. Palin (or Lt. Gov. Parnell if she became the Vice-President) would name the replacement Senator.  This is probably the reason Palin was so slow in joining the chorus demanding Ted Stevens' resignation.
As some readers pointed out, there would have to be a special election held to fill Stevens' vacancy within 60-90 days.  
Whether the Governor is allowed to appoint an interim Senator (until the special election) is debatable because the Alaskan Supreme Court has never ruled on the discrepencies between Proposition 4 and state legislation passed in 2004 regarding this issue.

Originally posted to The Totalizer on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 12:38 AM PDT.


Could Sarah Palin become Alaska's next Senator?

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