Republican Senator Ted Stevens, who was convicted of corruption last month, has lost his bid for re-election - boosting the Democratic Party majority in the U.S. Senate.

Results from the November fourth race in the state of Alaska show Stevens behind Democrat Mark Begich by some 3700 votes.  Election officials say only about 2500 overseas ballots are left to be counted, making Begich's lead insurmountable.

Stevens, 85, was convicted of lying about gifts he received from an oil contractor.  He has served in the Senate since 1968, making him the longest serving Republican in Senate history.  

With Stevens' defeat, Democrats now control 58 seats in the Senate counting two independents who align with Democrats.  That brings the party within two seats of the 60-vote majority needed to prevent Republicans from blocking legislation from advancing to a final vote, a process known as a "filibuster".

Senate races in the states of Georgia and Minnesota are still being decided.  

A recount in Minnesota begins Wednesday, in the race between incumbent Norm Coleman, a Republican, and Democrat Al Franken.  Heading into the recount, Coleman leads by about 200 votes.

Georgia will hold a runoff election in early December to decide the race between Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin.  Neither received the more than 50 percent of the vote required to win in that state. 


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.