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Daily News-Miner - Begich, Berkowitz Campaigns Reiterate Message; Lily Stevens Stumps for Her Father, Ted

News Article

Location: Fairbanks, AK

By Rebecca George

Seven days remain until Election Day, and it's business as usual in Fairbanks as U.S. congressional candidates continue to rally support for their individual campaigns.

Sen. Ted Stevens' youngest daughter, Lily Stevens, was in Fairbanks to endorse her father even after he was convicted Monday of seven felony corruption charges.

The youngest of Stevens' six children, Lily has acted as surrogate campaigner in the last several weeks while her father was in trial in Washington, D.C.

"Dad is really looking forward to getting up here and campaigning for himself," Lily Stevens said.

The Stevens campaign issued a release following the verdict stating the senator was committed to keep fighting both in the election and in appealing the verdict of the trial.

"I ask that Alaskans and my Senate colleagues stand with me as I pursue my rights," Stevens stated in the press release.

Prior to Monday's verdict, Lily Stevens traveled throughout Alaska, hosting women's forums in Anchorage and attending the Alaska Federation of Natives convention.

"I'm not part of the campaign strategy, but I would imagine we can really focus on the issues now that the trial is behind us," she said Monday at Pike's Landing during the happy hour campaign event. "The judicial process will continue, but now we can stop guessing and look forward to what dad is doing for the future of all Alaskans. He works harder than anyone I've ever known, and I know he will continue to do so."

Also working in Fairbanks was Stevens' Democrat opponent Mark Begich, who spoke to a crowd at the Interior Democrats' "Get out and Vote" rally Monday night.

The rally was scheduled prior to the release of Stevens' verdict.

After wrapping up a chamber of commerce forum in Anchorage earlier in the day, Begich flew to Fairbanks and was joined by a large group of supporters and even a few reindeer.

Though Election Day is just around the corner, Begich said his focus remains the same.

"Since the very beginning, this race has been much more than a trial," Begich said. "It's about what Alaskans are looking for for another 20 to 30 years in the U.S. Senate."

Begich said the support of the Fairbanks community was critical for the election, but his mission will not waiver in the next week.

"We'll continue to emphasize the same points I've laid out over the last six months about the energy crisis, and now the economic crisis, along with health care and veteran care," he said. "This campaign has always been about what issues are important to Alaskans."

Begich was joined by Ethan Berkowitz, Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, and other Interior Democratic candidates.

Berkowitz stood on a chair, reminding the crowd of supporters that he loved being in Fairbanks.

"It's so nice to be back in Alaska again," he joked.

Berkowitz said that while his campaign will continue to focus on issues relevant to the Interior, primarily energy, there was still nothing to be taken for granted.

"We need to do more than we've done already to make sure we win on election day," he said. "This election is ours, and I can see the end of it from my house."

Representative Don Young, the incumbent opponent to Berkowtiz, cast his ballot in Anchorage on Monday morning, according to a press release, but will be in Fairbanks to rally support on Saturday, according to Young spokesperson Michael Anderson.

Young was unavailable for comment Monday afternoon.

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