Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said he remains a candidate for reelection to the Senate next week, maintaining his innocence hours after being convicted on seven felony counts of making false statements.

"I remain a candidate for the United States Senate," Stevens said. "I will come home on Wednesday and ask for your vote"

Stevens faces Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) in next Tuesday's election, in which Stevens faces the most difficult challenge in his 40-year career in the upper chamber.

"This past year has been a difficult time for Alaskans," Begich said in a statement, "but our people are strong and resilient and I believe that we will be able to move forward together to address the critical challenges that face Alaska."

After Stevens's indictment in late July, Begich took a commanding lead in the polls, a lead which has since winnowed. In an October 22 Ivan Moore Research poll, Begich led with 46 percent to Stevens's 45 percent, well within the poll's 4.4 percent margin of error.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) spokesman Matthew Miller declined to comment as to whether or how Democrats would use Stevens in the Alaska race, or in races across the country.

-Michael O'Brien