Facing the toughest race of his 40-year congressional career, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) proclaimed once again that he is innocent in a special, two-minute ad being aired tonight in Alaska. Stevens was conviction last week on seven corruption counts in a federal court in Washington, D.C.
Stevens also suggested that his seniority in the Senate will help bring federal dollars back home to Alaska, something his Democratic opponent, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, will have a tougher time doing as a freshman back-bencher.
Stevens unveiled a two-minute ad tonight, titled "Experience Counts," in which he claimed that he was railroaded into a conviction by "overzealous prosecutors" from the Justice Department who "violated the Constitution by knowingly withholding evidence confirming my innocence."
"My future is in God’s hands," Stevens said. "Alaska’s future is in yours."
Stevens did not apologize for his legal problems, something he has not done since his July 29 indictment, although he did express regret for the controversy surrounding his case.
"These past few months have been difficult for all Alaskans, including my family," Stevens said. "I deeply regret that. From the bottom of my heart, I know that I’m innocent."
Stevens added: "Everyone has the right to a fair trial and an appeal because some times innocent men are found guilty. This is one of those times.
Stevens, a legendary pork-barrel politician of the old school,bragged about federal dollars he was able to steer back home thanks to his perch on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
"My actions in the Senate during the past few weeks alone secured more than $200 million for our military in Alaska, obtained tax relief for the Exxon-Valdez victims, invested in alternative energy projects, and doubled federal funding for many school districts," Stevens said.
"When you vote tomorrow, ask yourself: who will fight for Alaskans to provide affordable access to health care, lower energy cost, and work hard to ensure a bright future during these uncertain economic times? Experience counts and empty promises just don’t cut it."
Stevens never mentions Begich by name in the ad, instead repeating the same two themes that he has pushed in the final days of the campaign - he was a victim of an unfair and improper prosecution by the Justice Dept., and his experience in the Senate helps him deliver federal funds for Alaska.