04/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Popular Anchorage Mayor To Challenge GOP Senator

Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich has decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Ted Stevens since 1968.

Begich, 46, has been mayor of Alaska's largest city since 2003.

A Democrat, Begich will formally announce his candidacy Monday at noon at the Mountain View Community Center. At 5 p.m., he'll make a similar announcement in Fairbanks at the J.P. Jones Community Development Center, according to a press release sent by his campaign. Begich has spent the last two months gauging statewide support. "That effort has led him ... to officially enter the race," the press release said.

Stevens, an 84-year-old and the longest-serving Republican in U.S. Senate history, was appointed to his Senate seat in 1968 and has easily won re-election seven times since.

But the upcoming election could be his toughest. Stevens is under federal investigation - but has not been charged - as part of a broad corruption inquiry by the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice. Investigators are looking at his connections with now-defunct oil services company Veco, including Veco's role in remodeling Stevens' home in Girdwood.

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