Ben Stevens says he doesn't want U.S. Senate seat

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2002

State Sen. Ben Stevens is not interested in an appointment to the U.S. Senate, he said during a press conference in Anchorage on Wednesday.

Stevens, the son of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, called the press conference to dispel talk that he was among a handful of Republicans being considered.

Stevens said he was surprised to hear his name mentioned as a possible appointee to the seat vacated when Gov. Frank Murkowski was sworn in Dec. 2.

He never asked to be considered and is content to remain in the Legislature, Stevens said.

"I was surprised and, quite frankly, embarrassed to see my name listed in this erroneous fashion," Stevens said.

Murkowski sparked the talk during a press conference with reporters in Washington, D.C., earlier this week where he indicated Stevens and his own daughter, state Rep. Lisa Murkowski, were among a small group of people now being considered.

Murkowski, who as governor must select the replacement to fill out his remaining two years in the U.S. Senate, said he had winnowed his list down to six people.

He plans to make an announcement Friday morning in Anchorage.

Ben Stevens' name first surfaced in November when Murkowski released a list of more than two dozen Republicans he was considering for an appointment to fill out his two remaining years.

On Monday during an exchange with reporters, the governor coyly identified two of the candidates only as his relative and a relative of a sitting U.S. senator. Subsequent media reports identified Rep. Lisa Murkowski and Stevens as the two candidates. Murkowski refused to identify the remaining four he referred to.

In recent days Murkowski has also informed several other prominent Republicans that they are no longer in consideration for the spot. Among those names are Alaska Railroad board Chairman Johne Binkley, Teamsters leader Jerry Hood, lobbyist and former lawmaker Jerry Mackie and former Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin.

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