In a statement that seemed to reach a bit on a day in which a growing number of fellow senators called for his resignation, Stevens announced that the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission has endorsed him. In that same release today, Stevens announced that retired Air Force Lt. General Tom McInerney, who is the former head of the Alaska Command, has also backed Stevens.
Stevens was convicted Monday of seven felony counts of failing to disclose $250,000 in gifts and services from an Alaskan contracting firm. He remains on the Nov. 4 ballot and has defiantly maintained his innocence.
The endorsement of the Eskimo whalers was the only statement released by the Stevens campaign on Tuesday. Stevens has pushed for the Department of Commerce to issue whale hunting quotas for the Eskimos, so they've returned the favor with their endorsement — one of the few Stevens has received in the past 24 hours.
The native population is a signficant voting bloc in Alaska, so this endorsement may grab some Alaskan votes, but it may not be enough to put Stevens over the top.
"The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission has unanimously endorsed Sen. Ted Stevens for reelection to the United States Senate,” said Harry Brower, chairman of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. “Sen. Stevens has protected Alaska Natives’ rights to hunt the bowhead for over 30 years."