Ted Stevens is the first sitting United States Senator to be convicted on corruption charges since New Jersey’s Harrison Williams on May 1, 1981. Stevens, who has represented Alaska in the Senate since 1968, was found guilty on seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure. Williams, who was completing his fourth term, was convicted on nine counts of bribery and extortion charges connected to the ABSCAM scandal. Five U.S. Senators have been found guilty of felony charges; Williams is one of two Senators in U.S. history to serve in prison following a conviction.
If Stevens is defeated for re-election next week, he will become the longest-serving U.S. Senator in history to lose his seat. He’ll break the record set by Warren Magnuson, who lost his seat in 1980 after 36 years in office. And if Stevens wins, and then leaves office (either through resignation or expulsion), Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would pick his replacement. Palin could pick herself.