From David Hulen in Anchorage --
The Washington Post makes the case that the distinction could belong to Bob Bird, the Alaskan Independence Party's candidate for U.S. Senate this year. The story suggests Bird's candidacy may have cost Ted Stevens the election.
(Stevens') biggest obstacles appeared to be a potential prison sentence and his Democratic opponent, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.
Little did he know that one Bob Bird, the nominee of the conservative Alaska Independence Party, would stand in his way by grabbing 4 percent of the vote.
When a majority of votes were counted on Election Day, Stevens held a 3,200-vote lead. Last week, after 70,000 more votes were tallied, Begich pulled ahead by more than 1,000 votes, with fewer than 30,000 remaining to be counted Tuesday.
Bird -- running a conservative antiabortion, pro-gun-rights campaign -- has collected 12,144 votes. Bird may end up being the most important third-party candidate in the 2008 race...
Bird's support, the story notes, almost certainly came from conservatives unlikely to vote for Begich.