This should have been a good morning for GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan. FEC filings show that he brought in $1.4 million in the first quarter of this year, which runs from January to March. He raised $100,000 more than he announced last week. This means that he bested U.S. Sen. Mark Begich in the quarter by about $400,000, which is no small feat. Sullivan has filed two quarterly reports, and he’s beat Begich’s fundraising totals in both. He still has just under $2 million cash on hand. But fundraising prowess doesn’t guarantee success, particularly if the public doesn’t know who you are.
The KTUU Channel 2 screenshot was captured on Thursday morning. KTUU has been the number one watched news program in Anchorage for decades. It features a photo not of Sullivan the Senate candidate, but of Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, who’s running for lieutenant governor. Mistakes like this are made all the time, even by much bigger outlets, and this one is a particularly easy one to make. It was fixed shortly after it was posted.
That said, it speaks to a larger problem: If KTUU’s webmaster is confused about the two Dan Sullivans, then most of the public is too. And Senate candidate Sullivan’s campaign, which has released few ads so far, doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to change that. This confusion likely won’t hurt him in the primary, where the name recognition could serve both of them well. It’ll be a different story, however, in the general election, particularly if Mayor Dan wins his primary. As the mayor of the state’s largest city, a city that many Alaskans feel resentment towards, Sullivan has high negative numbers in some places in the state. And you can bet that U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, who is likely one of that state’s best living politicians, can and will make use of the confusion.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org