Stevens' rise and fall: In the end Alaskans tired of scandal

For years, Alaskans spoke with trepidation of the day when "Uncle Ted" would leave the U.S. Senate, cutting off the flow of federal "Stevens money" that helped sustain Alaska's economy.

Nobody imagined that when the day finally came, it would be because Alaskans themselves voted their "senator for life" out of the Senate.

In the end, though, it was scandal-weary Alaskans who brought the 40-year Senate career of Ted Stevens to an end, voting by a thin margin to replace him with Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, a Democrat. By Tuesday night, Begich and the Democrats had claimed victory; the Stevens camp, faced with a deficit that appeared impossible to overcome, said nothing.

For Alaska's senior senator - under fire from the Justice Department, his Republican colleagues, and many once-loyal constituents - the sad finish to his proud career was obviously painful.

"I wouldn't wish what I'm going through on anyone, (not) my worst enemy," Stevens told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday, before the decisive absentee votes were counted back in Alaska.

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