Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’ conviction Monday on corruption charges almost certainly ends his nearly 40 years in the U.S. Senate and further fuels Democratic hopes of reaching a filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority there. Stevens, 84, wanted a quick trial on charges he lied about free home renovations performed by an oil contractor. He hoped to beat the rap with enough time before Election Day to defend a Senate seat he has held since December 1968. That was dashed by the jury’s verdict. Even before the conviction Stevens was only even with Democratic challenger Mark Begich. His new status as convict means Alaska’s seat is all but in the bag for Democrats looking to increase their Senate majority. Stevens made a career of bringing federal dollars to Alaska. But he was widely seen as increasingly arrogant and one who had stayed in Washington too long. With Alaska likely gone and GOP incumbents in Minnesota, North Carolina and possibly Georgia in tough races, Democrats have a reasonable shot at reaching a 60-vote majority that would let them pass bills without worrying about Republicans using Senate rules to block work on objectionable legislation. What already was a strong Democratic year got stronger.