Alaska Senate race heats up with heinous crime in the spotlight
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, is fighting to keep his seat in this year's midterm elections.
September 1st, 2014
08:45 PM ET
5 years ago

Alaska Senate race heats up with heinous crime in the spotlight

(CNN) - The campaign of Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, is changing a political ad to remove references to a gruesome murder case after the victims’ family called on the campaign to stop using the case for political purposes.

Begich's Republican challenger, Dan Sullivan, had released his own ad to counter Begich's commercial, and Sullivan's campaign agreed to take that ad down as well, in light of the family’s wishes.

The drama over the Willie Horton-style ad is the latest development in a tight Senate race that could determine the balance of power in the Senate.

A quick ad war

On Friday, Begich's campaign released an ad featuring a retired Anchorage police sergeant standing at the scene of a horrific crime in 2013, in which a man named Jerry Active is accused of beating an elderly couple to death, then sexually assaulting the couple's 2-year-old granddaughter as well as the girl’s great-grandmother, who has dementia.

Active had previously been sentenced to four years in prison for a 2009 sexual assault attempt, a sentence that should have been eight to 15 years but was shorter because the state failed to identify a prior felony conviction, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

While the retired sergeant in the ad, Bob Glen, doesn't mention any specific names in the spot, he describes the grisly acts and accuses Sullivan, who was Alaska's attorney general at the time of Active's plea bargain, of letting "a lot of sex offenders get off with light sentences."

"One of them got out of prison and is now charged with breaking into that apartment building, murdering a senior couple and sexually assaulting their 2-year-old granddaughter," Glen says in the ad.

Sullivan's campaign quickly put out an ad of its own, called "Shameful," with the GOP candidate rebutting the claims in the initial ad that Sullivan is soft on sex offenders.

Sullivan’s campaign also released a timeline that points out the sentencing mistake was made by the state before Sullivan was appointed attorney general in June 2009. (Begich's campaign, however, noted Sullivan's name appears on the plea agreement that was issued in March 2010.)

plea agreement

Family demands the ads be taken down

After both ads aired, an attorney representing the victims' family asked the candidates to take down the spots, saying the publicity about the case could affect the trial, which is scheduled for September.

Sullivan's campaign issued a notice to Alaska television stations on Sunday, asking them to remove the counter-ad because it references the case. Monday night, it removed details about the case, including Active's name, from its website.

A spokesman for Begich’s campaign said the team is modifying the ad “to remove any potential reference to the pending criminal case."

Monday morning, his campaign removed material about the ad and asked television stations to replace the current ad with an older campaign ad until the ad at issue had been changed.

Still, the family's lawyer, Bryon Collins, issued a letter Monday demanding Begich to "unconditionally order the removal of ALL ads and references to anything to do with the case," either directly or indirectly.

Collins later communicated privately Monday that he approved of the actions taken by Begich to remove references to the case, according to Begich's campaign.

Collins did not return calls from CNN.

CNN’s Steve Brusk contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Alaska • Mark Begich • Senate
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Begich used the Guns Over People tea potty playbook against them. They hate that.

    September 1, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  2. Chris..E.Al

    Democrats would love to see you nuked instead of coal black lung ? Do you want it slow or easy ?

    September 1, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  3. Thomas

    And you thought Italian poetics was bad !

    If the two year old , who's grandparents were murdered had been careering a gun this wouldn't have happened.

    Rick Perry / Sarah Palin 2016
    You can smell Putin from the front porch ?

    September 2, 2014 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  4. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid the repub/tea bag majority.

    We have Karl Rove's mentor, Lee Atwater, to thank for the Willie Horton-type ads used by politicians.

    September 2, 2014 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  5. Dar

    Okay, who's the liar here? One guess.......................You can do it......................!!!
    THEY BOTH ARE!! They are both politicians, it is in the creed. Must lie to win, Must discredit the opponents at all cost.
    Obama said it best, If you cannot win on your own merit make the other guy look worse than you.
    If the truth would be told, nether opponents would win. (just kidding, one of the liar's would) All politicians LIE and it is up to us to discern the truth about their stories. Kind of reminds me of kids that lie to their parents and the parents have to decide what to do. Do you discipline them for telling a lie, or for the act that they got them in trouble in the first place?
    Well folks, we have to act like the parents and decide who we want to trust more. The first liar or the second liar.
    What a great choice we have to make this year. Come November we get to either put the same liar back in office or put a new one in congress. Makes me want to puke.

    September 2, 2014 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  6. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP THE NATIONAL JOKE PARTY , WE WONT PASS ANYTHING AND STILLGET PAID

    Just more GOP BS AND LIES,also , Rick Scott following in the steps of the SLIMEBALL scot walker in dragging down the state with unsustainable tax cuts of 1.5 billion dollars which will cause huge deficts , the same as is happening in Kansas with their GOP useless govenor putting his state on the road to insolvency . Kick these GOP MORONS OUT of office in November !!!!!!

    September 2, 2014 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  7. reality check please!

    Shameless, both of them.

    September 2, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  8. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    If President Obama said that Dar, he was referring to the GOPT. Which is what they've been doing since 2008. That said. The ad was in very poor taste. But that's politics now a days right? While it is a tragedy that states are very soft on sexual assaults that are committed by a certain type of men of a certain "continental origin", a sexual assault of a toddler should not be exploited this way. It's time the justice system started being harder on perverts. In my state a guy of a certain "continental origin" can have sex with and impregnate a teenager but receive less time than a man of a different "continental origin" for selling drugs. It's time to crack down on perverts they don't change. This was a sick ad.

    September 2, 2014 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  9. it must be said

    Dastardly Democrats Doing Disgusting Despicable Desperate Deeds Destroying Democracy, Defying Decency.

    Remember what the D stands for America!

    September 2, 2014 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  10. just asking

    reality check please!
    Shameless, both of them.
    -–

    why is it wrong to defend yourself against such a dirty rotten misleading ad by this dirty rotten democrat? would you stand idly by and be slandered by this wretched person? if so, then that is the new standard of sheep.

    September 2, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  11. Tony D

    I think Begich's very poor judgement in running that horrendous ad is going to cost him the election. And rightfully so. Do you really want somebody in the Senate with that level of decency and poor judgement? Absolutely NOT!

    September 2, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  12. Lily

    It is September. The season has just kicked in. No stone will remain unturned until November.

    September 2, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  13. The GOP should just run on their Platform

    The GOP Platform: Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Female, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Male, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military during the next "unfunded/off-the-books" war. And don't forget the GOP all time favorites........TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!..........and........GET RID OF SS AND MEDICARE!!!

    September 2, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  14. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Actually Solution.... They can run on anything they want to with the MSM on their sides. Check out the responses..... The GOPT mods are very busy this morning. I've been zapped 4 x trying to post a comment.

    September 2, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. Tom l

    rs,

    " He voted for the government shutdown"
    ----

    I see, so when Obama voted against raising the debt limit and voted "present" those were intelligent and symbolic votes that you fully support. However, when Rand Paul symbolically votes (and even says that he did not like the shutdown apporoach) he is actually voting for the shutdown. So Obama can vote for te US not to live up to its debt obligations and according to you that's perfectly fine and acceptable when your guy does it but when the voter guy does it he's a bad guy. Just want to be clear on the "rs rules" that seem to change depending on whether there is an "r" or a "d" next to their name. Thank you for demonstrating your hyper partisanship and lack of any credibility.

    September 2, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Anonymous

    just asking

    reality check please!
    Shameless, both of them.
    -–

    why is it wrong to defend yourself against such a dirty rotten misleading ad by this dirty rotten democrat? would you stand idly by and be slandered by this wretched person? if so, then that is the new standard of sheep.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Hypocritical much. The guy President Obama recently picked to head the Justice Department's civil rights division was vetoed by the house republicants because he had the unmitigated gall to represent a murder defendant while working for his state's public defender office. Had the guy been campaigning for elective office republicants would have run the same type of ad as the Begich camp – and you can bet THEY wouldn't have pulled the ad, regardless of the victims' family's request.

    September 2, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    It amuses me to no end to see the crybaby righties on here suddenly 'outraged' (they constantly play this pitiful little game) by such a tactic.

    All I can say is....

    Willie Horton.

    September 2, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. David Chamberlain

    CNN obviously does not care about the families wishes otherwise they would not have posted this.

    September 2, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. Say WHAT???

    Ol' Yeller
    It amuses me to no end to see the crybaby righties on here suddenly 'outraged' (they constantly play this pitiful little game) by such a tactic.
    All I can say is....
    Willie Horton.
    ----

    OK, so here are the FACTS about Willie Horton and Dukasis, who was Governor of Massachusetts when it happened.
    NOT EVEN CLOSE to being the same!! Dukasis WAS responsible for the the policies of the state while in office. And if the typical liberal is easy on criminals, then they need to accept responsibilities when their policies result in disaster. No parole, but weekend furloughs???!!! SERIOUSLY??!! Only in a brain dead leftie state like Massachusetts could something like this happen.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Horton— a black man serving a life sentence without parole for
    murder— was released as a part of a Massachusetts weekend
    furlough program. While on furlough, Horton committed armed
    robbery and rap
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    September 2, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Thomas: "If the two year old , who's grandparents were murdered had been careering a gun this wouldn't have happened."

    I realize you're being sarcastic, but for those who don't understand your post, bear this in mind:

    On November 29, 2009, four Lakewood, Washington, police officers – fully armed and trained in using their weapons – were shot dead in a coffee shop.

    Why? Because unlike in the movies, bad guys don't walk up to you and launch into a monologue before they start shooting.

    September 2, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. just saying

    begich should fire the person responsible for that ridiculous ad. if begich personally approved it, then he should drop out of the race. we don't need dirt bags like this in the senate. hopefully the good people of alaska will dump this dirt bag if he stays in the race.

    September 2, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Say WHAT: "Horton— a black man serving a life sentence without parole for murder— was released as a part of a Massachusetts weekend furlough program. While on furlough, Horton committed armed robbery and rape."

    How do you feel about this in regard to the four Lakewood, Washington, police officers who were murdered on November 9, 2009?

    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee broke his silence Monday and defended his decision to support freedom for a convict now wanted in the ambush slayings of four Seattle-area police officers. "If I could have known nine years ago that this guy was capable of something of this magnitude, obviously I would never have granted the commutation," Huckabee said.

    Did you give Huckabee a pass, or did you say it made him eternally disqualified from ever running for public office and a symbol of how repubs coddle criminals?

    September 2, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. tom l

    ThinkAgain – Don't like Congress? Get rid the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Say WHAT: "Horton— a black man serving a life sentence without parole for murder— was released as a part of a Massachusetts weekend furlough program. While on furlough, Horton committed armed robbery and rape."

    How do you feel about this in regard to the four Lakewood, Washington, police officers who were murdered on November 9, 2009?

    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee broke his silence Monday and defended his decision to support freedom for a convict now wanted in the ambush slayings of four Seattle-area police officers. "If I could have known nine years ago that this guy was capable of something of this magnitude, obviously I would never have granted the commutation," Huckabee said.

    Did you give Huckabee a pass, or did you say it made him eternally disqualified from ever running for public office and a symbol of how repubs coddle criminals?
    ======

    Seems like you both have double standards and point to the other side for bad behavior while excusing the bad behavior on your side. It's always a sign that you have a flawed argument when you say something like "well, what about this?" At some point, all of the hyper partisans on here will realize that their side does the very same thing that they are so angry about the other side doing. Round and round we go.

    September 2, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. Tony D

    ThinkAgain – Don't like Congress? Get rid the repub/tea bag majority.
    @Thomas: "If the two year old , who's grandparents were murdered had been careering a gun this wouldn't have happened."
    I realize you're being sarcastic, but for those who don't understand your post, bear this in mind:
    On November 29, 2009, four Lakewood, Washington, police officers – fully armed and trained in using their weapons – were shot dead in a coffee shop.
    Why? Because unlike in the movies, bad guys don't walk up to you and launch into a monologue before they start shooting.
    ---

    Whether a criminal announces his intention or not, a person has a far better chance of defending himself, and his family, if they are armed and know how to use their weapon, when confronted with a dangerous person or situation.

    Using your defective logic, I guess we should take all firearms away from the police because they obviously did not help them in this situation.

    September 2, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Say WHAT???

    ThinkAgain – Don't like Congress? Get rid the repub/tea bag majority.
    @Say WHAT: "Horton— a black man serving a life sentence without parole for murder— was released as a part of a Massachusetts weekend furlough program. While on furlough, Horton committed armed robbery and rape."
    How do you feel about this in regard to the four Lakewood, Washington, police officers who were murdered on November 9, 2009?
    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee broke his silence Monday and defended his decision to support freedom for a convict now wanted in the ambush slayings of four Seattle-area police officers. "If I could have known nine years ago that this guy was capable of something of this magnitude, obviously I would never have granted the commutation," Huckabee said.
    Did you give Huckabee a pass, or did you say it made him eternally disqualified from ever running for public office and a symbol of how repubs coddle criminals?
    ---

    Sorry, no pass. In my book, NO politician should be letting criminals out of prison unless there is clear, irrefutable proof of their innocence. Huckabee is partly culpable in my book. Being soft of criminals is ALWAYS going to come back to hurt innocent people.

    September 2, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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