Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who was convicted last month on corruption charges, is leading his Democratic opponent with 72 percent of the votes counted.

Stevens has received 48.42 percent while Democrat Mark Begich has 46.06 percent, reports the Anchorage Daily News. Both candidates expected the race to stay close until the final votes were counted.

A federal jury in Washington, D.C., found Stevens guilty of taking gifts from an Alaska businessman and failing to properly disclose them in Senate forms. Stevens is appealing the conviction. His sentencing is scheduled for February.

Senate leaders from both parties have said that a convicted felon won't be allowed to serve in the Senate. Stevens could be expelled from the Senate if two-thirds of his colleagues vote to do so. If that happened, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) would choose his replacement.