Dan Sullivan finally announces for U.S. Senate

In front of a crowd of about 60, former Alaska Attorney General and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan at long last announced that he’s running for U.S. Senate, a fact that took few by surprise. For months, rumors have been swirling about his impending run.

Sullivan will be taking on Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller in the Republican primary. The victor will then go on to try to beat Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. Miller issued a press release welcoming the competition and Sullivan into the race. Shortly after his speech, Alaska’s Democratic Party sent out a release trashing Sullivan, calling him an “establishment” candidate who has the “stamp of approval from Washington insiders.”

At the announcement, Sullivan billed himself as the candidate who was both experienced and optimistic. A Marine and the tough “fighter” who can beat U.S. Sen. Mark Begich in the general election. The one who sees Alaska’s future as one that will help the rest of the country grow. The father of three young girls and the husband who is in love with his Athabascan wife. The one who can be both simultaneously detached and engaged enough to display to the audience that illusive quality best known as “charm.”

During his speech, Sullivan touched on the general themes of this campaign, mostly about how the state can take the lead on what he called the country’s “energy renaissance,” but didn’t get specific. How would he help try to save the government from impending financial collapse? What about the shutdown? Where does he stand on the hot button social issues? How is he different from his Republican rivals?

The answers have to wait for another day. For all the months that Sullivan had to plan for the announcement, for all of his supposed “establishment” credentials —  including being a former U.S. assistant secretary of state under President George W. Bush — apparently no planning went into answering media questions following his speech.

“There’s plenty of time to answering questions,” he said. “You know me,” he told members of the media. “I’ll answer your questions,” before walking away to talk to people in the crowd.

It’s true that since Sullivan took the job as attorney general in 2010, and then later as DNR commissioner, he’s been generally available to the media. The fact that he wasn’t on what could be the biggest day of his political career was puzzling.

Indeed, there’s time. The primary election is more than 9 months away. But one of the biggest issues for Sullivan will be differentiating himself from Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, who is running for lieutenant governor. It also doesn’t help that there’s another Dan Sullivan in Arkansas who is also running for U.S. Senate against a Democratic incumbent, a state whose postal code often gets confused with Alaska’s.

When Bill Clinton was running for president, some of his mail ended up at the post office in Hope, Alaska instead of his hometown in Arkansas.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


11 thoughts on “Dan Sullivan finally announces for U.S. Senate

  1. Ben Rowell

    I was at Newcomb Park as well. I appreciate that Sullivan launched in Wasilla even though it was near freezing and raining sideways. He was the only one wearing appropriate footwear, combat boots!

    The Valley is for Sullivan!

  2. GD

    Sullivan appears to be a candidate of substance instead of a blowhard like Treadwell. You can figure out real fast who the leader is when both Begich and Treadwell begin attacking Sullivan. In my eyes, both Begich and Treadwell are like those lizards that change color depending on who or what group they are talking to. Sullivan seems to have the courage of his convictions instead of saying anything and everything to curry favor. Unless someone better gets in the race like Charlie Huggins, I’m for Sullivan.

  3. Progressive View

    I am now comfortable that Mark Begich will be re-elected. The primary will eat these guys up.

  4. parks hwy rider

    Went to the announcement that Dan made in the valley. Liked the fact that he showed the residents of the valley the respect they deserve. Representative Lynn Gattis did a great job of introducing the former commissioner. Representative Mark Neuman was there to lend support as well. Heard Representative Stoltze on the radio talking about Dan positively too. Glad our valley delegation is getting behind Dan. I agree with the other folks who have commented about Mead’s lack of honor and decency in terms of staying on the state payroll when all he is doing is campaigning. That’s wrong and if he can’t figure that out, well we don’t need to send someone like that to DC. There are already too many of his type back there. Go Dan. This veteran is proud to support a veteran like Dan Sullivan.


    Hey Randy, good point about Mead. Never thouight about how he is ripping off the state. Can we impeach a luetinent governor ?

  6. Randy

    Politicians talk. Statesmen act. I admire Dan Sullivan for doing the honorable thing and resigning his position to run. Mead Treadwell should take note. Treadwell should be ashamed of himself. He campaigns fulltime on the state nickel. As a state worker, I can tell you he is NEVER in his office. He’s traveling all over the country sucking up to the special interests begging money for his campaign – – all at taxpayers expenses ! For this reason alone, he doesn’t deserve the vote of one Alaskan. He talks about how much money he has and what a good investor he is. Why then does he have so few morals that he can’t see the error of whar he is dooing ? Thieves have no honor. Shame on you. You have disgraced the office you hold and are proving to all Alaskans how horrible of a person you are. Thank goodness Dan Sullivan is in the race. He has my vote. For clarification, Joe Miller, unlike Treadwell, has honor, I just don’t believe in his tea party philosophy. Still, I would vote for him if Sullivan would not have gotten in the race. Mead, it still is not too late to do the right thing. Resign and don’t make the Alaskan taxpayer pay for your time while you campaign.

  7. Debbie

    Dan Sullivan is a good man. Hje has served his country as a U.S. Marine. He has done a good job as AG and DNR Commissioner. He is the best candidate in the race. I am hoping he wins.

  8. TR Republican

    The race for the Unites States Senate cerrtainly got a lot more interesting today.
    The candidates are : Mark Begich, the incumbent; Joe Miller, a principled tea party republican; Mead Treadwell, a liar; Dan Sullivan, an untested but appealing candidate; and a couple of unknowns. Hopefully, Joe Miller or Dan Sullivan will be our next US Senator from Alaska.

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