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Alaska's Ted Stevens gets primary win

By Jimmy Orr / August 27, 2008

Jake Turcotte

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One down, one to go.

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The longest serving Republican in the history of the U.S. Senate took the first step on Tuesday toward winning his eighth term with more than 63 percent of yesterday's vote. He topped his closest competitor by more than 35 points.

Alaska is a key battleground state for the Democrats this year with both Stevens and incumbent Representative Don Young mired in legal issues.

Last month, Stevens was indicted by a federal grand jury on seven felony counts involving a failure to report gifts. At issue is his house - or the expansion and remodeling of it. He is charged with accepting some $250,000 for improvements to his home along with other gifts.

After his primary victory, the senator, known for speaking his mind, quickly compared his general election opponent, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, to national Democrats and energy exploration - particularly ANWR.

"This is still a Republican state," Stevens said, according to the Anchorage Daily News. "You think they’re going to go for Obama? You think they’re going to go with Schumer who’s against drilling in the arctic and offshore?" He was referring to Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York.

"This is a Republican state — don’t forget that," he continued. "And we know why we’re Republican — because the Democrats have opposed our development every inch of the way. … Biden voted against the oil pipeline five times."

The man the newspaper once described as "the second-largest engine of the Alaska economy," has, as Monitor Colleague Yereth Rosen put it, "been lionized as a pillar of the economy here."

That being said, he is also lampooned or revered (depending on one's point-of-view) for his explanation of how the Internet works. And it is always worthwhile to let those words speak for themselves:

"An Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?
"Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially...
"They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.
"It's a series of tubes.
"And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."

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