From NBC's Ken Strickland
Could it get much worse for convicted Republican Sen. Ted Stevens today? On his birthday?
As he came to work this morning, one of his Republican colleagues, Jim DeMint, was threatening to hold a vote to kick him out of the GOP caucus. DeMint decided to postpone the vote a few days but said in a statement that "it's clear there are sufficient votes to pass the resolution."
And now it looks like Stevens' re-election is doomed. The AP reports that Stevens "trails his Democratic challenger by 2,374 votes as the vote count for the state's U.S. Senate race nears its end."
It was apparent today that the conviction, possible expulsion, and the re-election are taking a heavy toll of the 85-year-old senator. To add insult to injury, the process could drag on: Stevens says he can't begin to appeal his conviction until February, and if the election results are within 0.5%, it would automatically trigger a recount.
"It's a long process," Stevens said as he was swarmed by reporters this morning. "I wouldn't wish what I'm going through on anyone, not my worst enemy."
The usually boisterous Alaska senator spoke in a soft voice as he described the impact the trial has had on him: "I haven't had a night's sleep now for almost four months. I went home even during the trial. And then I came to the Senate at night after the trial. So I've been living about three different lives. It's hard to even answer your questions properly, but I'm doing my best."