Game on in Alaska Senate battle
August 20th, 2014
10:16 AM ET
2 months ago

Game on in Alaska Senate battle

(CNN) - The stage is set in one of the most important Senate races this year's midterm elections, a contest that could decide whether the Democrats or Republicans control the chamber next year.

Former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan held off two other major candidates to win Tuesday's Republican Senate primary, and will now face off in the general election against first term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. If the GOP can flip the seat in Alaska, and five others without losing any ground, they will win control of the Senate.

Sullivan topped 2010 GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller, with Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell coming in third place. Miller, who was backed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, surged in recent weeks, but wasn't able to close the gap with Sullivan, who enjoyed a fundraising advantage over his opponents, and who had the support of many mainstream pro-Republican organizations.

Groups such as American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which tend to back establishment GOP candidates, supported Sullivan, as they saw him as the strongest Republican candidate to take on Begich. Sullivan also had the backing of the Club for Growth, which often endorses more conservative Republican candidates.

Complete Coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

Sullivan, who was also the state's director of natural resources, came under attack for his ties to Alaska, and for his record in state government. Sullivan's originally from Ohio and didn't live in Alaska for a chunk of time last decade when he worked in the George W. Bush administration and in the military.

The attacks came not only from Sullivan's Republican primary opponents, but also from pro-Democratic groups that are backing Begich. Some of those groups spent big bucks to go up with ads critical of Sullivan.

In a victory statement, Sullivan tied Begich to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"Harry Reid tried to stop us, but his millions of dollars of attack ads didn't work. Mark Begich, his loyal lieutenant, has spent the last ten months trying to avoid talking about his failed record. Now is the time to focus on the real issues that matter the most to Alaskans. I look forward to painting a clear contrast between Mark Begich’s inability to move our state forward and my vision for a brighter and better Alaska," wrote Sullivan.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly fired off a statement, saying "Sullivan is wrong for Alaska women, seniors, and middle class families."

"Sullivan is an Outsider and his campaign is bankrolled by Outside special interests that want to privatize Medicare and Social Security, eliminate a federal minimum wage, and protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas," added DSCC Deputy Executive Director Matt Canter, in a statement.

With the primary over, the amount of attention and outside money flowing into the Alaska showdown will only intensify.

Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). But in the midterms, the party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states like Alaska.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this story


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The stage is set in one of the most important Senate races this year's midterm elections, a contest that could decide whether the Democrats or Republicans control the chamber next year."

    Yeah, right? The suspense is all that and so much more ...

    August 20, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. rs

    Republicans may in fact take the Senate in the fall elections, and that could be their undoing, witnessing their unbridled insanity in the U.S. House of Representatives. Should a GOP controlled Senate operate with the same craziness, it could well doom the GOP for the future as they will fall to their oldest nemesis- over-reach. As they have no hope for 2016 and the White House this could be a "win the battle, lose the war" scenario.

    August 20, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Fair is Fair

    rs

    Republicans may in fact take the Senate in the fall elections, and that could be their undoing, witnessing their unbridled insanity in the U.S. House of Representatives. Should a GOP controlled Senate operate with the same craziness, it could well doom the GOP for the future as they will fall to their oldest nemesis- over-reach. As they have no hope for 2016 and the White House this could be a "win the battle, lose the war" scenario.
    ---------–
    Careful what you wish for. Your presumptive nominee may not even throw her hat in with a GOP controlled house and senate. With respect to Alaska, Real Clear Politics has a 52-48 GOP Senate WITHOUT Alaska. We shall see.

    August 20, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Vince

    Another Palin endorsement goes nowhere. #Teafail

    August 20, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. rs

    Fair is Fair

    rs

    Republicans may in fact take the Senate in the fall elections, and that could be their undoing, witnessing their unbridled insanity in the U.S. House of Representatives. Should a GOP controlled Senate operate with the same craziness, it could well doom the GOP for the future as they will fall to their oldest nemesis- over-reach. As they have no hope for 2016 and the White House this could be a "win the battle, lose the war" scenario.
    ---–
    Careful what you wish for. Your presumptive nominee may not even throw her hat in with a GOP controlled house and senate. With respect to Alaska, Real Clear Politics has a 52-48 GOP Senate WITHOUT Alaska. We shall see.
    ______________________
    Just as the GOP has paralyzed the House with nuttiness and the Senate with Mr. McConnell's filibusters, the GOP forgets the President has the power of the veto. Meanwhile- I don't see how the GOP can screw our nation up worse (McConnell today threatening more multi-billion dollar government shutdowns post-election). Sure that can act even more irresponsibly, but short of seceding their poverty-stricken waste-oid states, they can't harm our great union more than they have already. Hey- maybe they can run on that....

    August 20, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. rs

    Vince

    Another Palin endorsement goes nowhere. #Teafail
    _______________________
    The only future the GOP has is to put the kooks of the TEA Party in a box and bury it in the back yard.

    August 20, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. Kata Strophic

    This sounds suspiciously like the Senate race in Colorado, where millions of Koch dollars are pouring in to enable Cory Gardner to take Mark Udall down. Gardner's against abortions AND birth control–no sense giving women any freedom to decide when they're going to reproduce, right?–for personhood amendments, and basically is just one of those guys who walks the far-right fringe line so you can bet he'll vote against anything else that might remotely benefit Colorodoans, just like he's been doing for years in the House. And you can bet that anything Obama remotely supports Gardner's already automatically against–even though his party might have previously supported the exact same idea 100%. How odd that a candidate would chose to run on making Congress even more ineffectual–that's already almost physically impossible as it is.

    But Alaska, Colorado, doesn't matter. Same old schtick and lies and outside financing buying some right-winger who speaks for no one but the one percent, and then the rest of us get to call it a horse race. . I don't understand how ANYONE could vote Republican after every egregious thing they've done only in this century. But I gotta say I'd double down on that when it comes to women. Any woman who votes Republican either is a comiplete masochist, loathes her own sex, or needs to get a frontal lobotomy.

    August 20, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. Ol' Yeller

    "If the GOP can flip the seat in Alaska, and five others without losing any ground, they will win control of the Senate."

    If the gop can convince enough rubes that President Obama has ruined the country (despite all the evidence to the contrary) then perhaps they can win power back and continue in their efforts to ruin the country (in light of all the evidence this is exactly their plan- do a terrible job governing, blame their purposeful crappy job on 'the gubmint', claim it 'doesn't work, and allow the corporations to take over and we will be the United States of koch industries).

    FIFY

    August 20, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. Kata Strophic

    Here in Colorado, right-wing dollars, particularly from the Kochs, are propping up yet another right-wing puppet, Cory Gardner, in hopes he'll take down Mark Udall. Actually, Gardner's got so many lying ads on tv–pretty much 24/7–that this would look like a horse race as long as you were ok with doping your nag. That anyone would sit back and take those outside dollars with any complacency speaks quite a bit about all of us being brain-dead to the BIGGEST problem in politics, not to mention, of course, that it's a sure bet any notion of democracy in this country is no more than a blatant sham. But Alaska, Colorado–doesn't matter. WHY are any of us letting our states–and all of our own direct interests–be endangered by spurious candidates who march to nothing but the tune of the one percent?

    August 20, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. Fair is Fair

    rs

    Fair is Fair

    rs

    Republicans may in fact take the Senate in the fall elections, and that could be their undoing, witnessing their unbridled insanity in the U.S. House of Representatives. Should a GOP controlled Senate operate with the same craziness, it could well doom the GOP for the future as they will fall to their oldest nemesis- over-reach. As they have no hope for 2016 and the White House this could be a "win the battle, lose the war" scenario.
    -–
    Careful what you wish for. Your presumptive nominee may not even throw her hat in with a GOP controlled house and senate. With respect to Alaska, Real Clear Politics has a 52-48 GOP Senate WITHOUT Alaska. We shall see.
    ______________________
    Just as the GOP has paralyzed the House with nuttiness and the Senate with Mr. McConnell's filibusters, the GOP forgets the President has the power of the veto. Meanwhile- I don't see how the GOP can screw our nation up worse (McConnell today threatening more multi-billion dollar government shutdowns post-election). Sure that can act even more irresponsibly, but short of seceding their poverty-stricken waste-oid states, they can't harm our great union more than they have already. Hey- maybe they can run on that....
    --------–
    You fail to acknowledge that the GOP was given control of the house in 2010 and that was reaffirmed by being given control again in 2012. Americans tend to prefer a balance of power... whenever there has been 1-party control over the executive and legislative, the results have been less than stellar.

    August 20, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Lizzie

    rs,
    Just as the GOP has paralyzed the House with nuttiness and the Senate with Mr. McConnell's filibusters, the GOP forgets the President has the power of the veto. Meanwhile- I don't see how the GOP can screw our nation up worse (McConnell today threatening more multi-billion dollar government shutdowns post-election). Sure that can act even more irresponsibly, but short of seceding their poverty-stricken waste-oid states, they can't harm our great union more than they have already. Hey- maybe they can run on that...
    -–you could say the same thing about the democrats in the SENATE, blocking, nuclear option, brides to get bills passed, and Harry Reid not letting bills come to the floor to be voted or even debated on.

    August 20, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. Ol' Yeller

    @Fair
    "You fail to acknowledge that the GOP was given control of the house in 2010 and that was reaffirmed by being given control again in 2012. Americans tend to prefer a balance of power... "

    Oh sweet Jaysus, fair.... you aren't talking to a bunch of morons here... if you truly believe that an election where the Dem candidates get over a million more votes than the republicants (and this is WITH your efforts to suppress the vote), yet they win because of seriously gerrymandered districts is because 'Americans tend to prefer a balance of power'... then I'm going to have to reasses my evaluation of you as one of the smarter righties on here...

    Get serious... that spin may work with the rubes you hang out with, but it ain't flying here...

    August 20, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. rs

    Fair-
    You fail to acknowledge that the GOP was given control of the house in 2010 and that was reaffirmed by being given control again in 2012. Americans tend to prefer a balance of power... whenever there has been 1-party control over the executive and legislative, the results have been less than stellar.
    ____________________________
    So, you think that if Americans want "balanced" leadership, they'll give the House, the Senate and the Presidency to the GOP? As to America "giving" the Republicans the House- the GOP gerrymandered the House in 2010, and have since worked hard to take millions of minority and female voters off the table for 2016. No one "gave" them anything- they took it.
    You maybe right, but I'd sure hate to run on the GOP's accomplishments of the last decade or so: no taxes for the rich; ending SS and Medicare; ending unemployment; useless and expensive government shutdowns; war; the idea that anyone but the rich have access to quality medical care/insurance; unbalanced budgets; and the most pernicious social policies this side of the inquisition.

    August 20, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Gurgyl

    CO, Alaska, drive these Sarah Palins away.

    August 20, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. rs

    Lizzie

    rs,
    Just as the GOP has paralyzed the House with nuttiness and the Senate with Mr. McConnell's filibusters, the GOP forgets the President has the power of the veto. Meanwhile- I don't see how the GOP can screw our nation up worse (McConnell today threatening more multi-billion dollar government shutdowns post-election). Sure that can act even more irresponsibly, but short of seceding their poverty-stricken waste-oid states, they can't harm our great union more than they have already. Hey- maybe they can run on that...
    -–you could say the same thing about the democrats in the SENATE, blocking, nuclear option, brides to get bills passed, and Harry Reid not letting bills come to the floor to be voted or even debated on.
    ______________________
    Tom I is that you, man?
    Seriously Lizzie- the GOP fired the first shot: 556 filibusters- more than at any time in American history- more than in American history combined! You must be proud of THAT level of obstruction. Who demanded super-majority bill passage? Why, that would be the GOP! Do explain the 37 embassy positions unfilled (and subject to Ms. Lindsay's "secret holds"). One of those embassies by the way is Russia- do you think maybe that is something that might be useful to have filled? What about the more than 100 judgeships? Think those should be filled?
    Get real Lizzie- the GOP is a freak show killing America.

    August 20, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. Fair is Fair

    "Oh sweet Jaysus, fair.... you aren't talking to a bunch of morons here... if you truly believe that an election where the Dem candidates get over a million more votes than the republicants (and this is WITH your efforts to suppress the vote), yet they win because of seriously gerrymandered districts is because 'Americans tend to prefer a balance of power'"

    "So, you think that if Americans want "balanced" leadership, they'll give the House, the Senate and the Presidency to the GOP? As to America "giving" the Republicans the House- the GOP gerrymandered the House in 2010, and have since worked hard to take millions of minority and female voters off the table for 2016. No one "gave" them anything- they took it."
    ---------
    Sick of hearing the Gerrymandering excuse from the lefties. Fact of the matter is that blue states have far many more districts than red states, especially true in and around very large population centers. Dems tend to win these districts and win them BIG. Comparing total dem votes versus total repub votes nationwide for districted contests is absolutely meaningless.

    Also, congressional districts are redrawn after census years – the last of which was 2010. The "shellacking" by the GOP was BEFORE redistricting, and yet the GOP won 67 seats. So YEAH... the American people GAVE the house to the GOP.

    August 20, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    The Kocks are doing the very same thing here in MI. Misleading ads stating the Democratic challenger is raising taxes on the middle class. When in fact Snyder has raised the cost of everything. It used to cost $12.50 to renew your Drivers License. That fee is now $18!

    That's what 4 years and GOPT Governor will do for you.

    August 20, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    The Kocks are doing the very same thing here in MI. Misleading ads stating the Democratic challenger is raising taxes on the middle class. When in fact Snyder has raised the cost of everything. It used to cost $12.50 to renew your Drivers License. That fee is now $18!
    That's what 4 years and GOPT Governor will do for you.
    --

    Renewing your drivers license is $75 in Massachusetts!!! And you are complaining about $18?!!! $75 is what we get with Democrats running the state. Stop your whining!!

    August 20, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. yolanda

    Gerrymandering has a rich history with both parties. There was even "affirmative" gerrymandering back in the 1960's to ensure that some districts had minority majorities so that they would have better representation in government. And @Ol' Yeller, you post as if you believe that you are talking to a bunch of morons and/or rubes. So, anyone who has a differing view from yours is either uneducated or stupid, eh? I bow to you, master.

    August 20, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. bf

    If you watch CSpan Begich always asks one of the Dems how he should vote. He is just another sheep doing what he is told. Vote him out!

    August 20, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. AnonyMouse

    Kiss this seat and the Senate good bye Democrats. Democrats and Obama would shut down all oil drilling in Alaska if they could. This state would be totally crazy to keep a Democrat in the Senate to help in doing that.

    It will be a great day for the USA when Dirty Senile Harry Reid gets thrown to the curb like the trash he is

    August 20, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. salty dog

    Aynon, we have the highest car insurance in the nation, many times you can buy a new car for two hundred a month, and 170 a month to insure it, seems a bit harsh. Drivers responsibility fees of up to 1000 a year for two years, reinstatement fee of 125 or 140? Tickets are outrageous too

    August 20, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. just asking

    bf
    If you watch CSpan Begich always asks one of the Dems how he should vote. He is just another sheep doing what he is told. Vote him out!
    --

    you mean the puppet strings leading to the white house have broken? has this been reported to the puppet master or his assistant (harry reid)?

    August 20, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. simple logic

    Could someone, anyone, please tell me why a working person would vote for a party that simply wants them to sacrifice for the wealthiest of us, who are incredibly well off. They have not done anything I have seen to help the ones the keep telling to vote for them, in order to make their lives better. This is incredible that they manage to stay in power, amazing, truly is.

    August 20, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. Ol' Yeller

    @yolanda

    "Gerrymandering has a rich history with both parties"

    I will stipulate to that... thank you for supporting my argument against fair that this wasn't some kind of mandate for the republicants, just another case of one party moving the goalposts.

    Also, sorry to make you feel inferior... I'll try to use smaller words.

    August 20, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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