Pro-Begich super-PAC calls Sullivan’s residency ‘fishy.’ Sullivan hits back.

Retired Air Force General Joe Ralston, who is a former NATO commander and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded to an ad released on Sunday by the pro-Mark Begich super-PAC, Put Alaska First. The ad questions GOP U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s Alaskan residency.

“It’s disappointing and shameful for anyone to attack Dan for leaving Alaska to serve his country after 9/11,” Ralston, who is a Sullivan supporter, said.

The ad, entitled “Fishy” begins: “Dan Sullivan, his claims of being an Alaskan just got fishier.” It says that Sullivan, while claiming to have been a 10 year resident of the state in 2013, checked the “non-resident” box when applying for a fishing license in 2009. Fish and Game’s rules for residency are different than other residency requirements. To qualify for a resident license, you have to be physically present for a year and not claim residency in another state.

Sullivan moved to Alaska in 1997. He left the state in 2002 to work for the National Security Council. He was called to active duty in the Marines between 2004 to 2006. He then worked for the State Department until 2009, when he moved back to the state to be Alaska’s attorney general, and then the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.

While away, he owned a house in Maryland, which the ad mentions.

“This is clearly a coordinated effort on the part of national Democrats to attack Republican candidates for their service, and distract from their record of supporting Obamacare and President Obama’s failed agenda,” Sullivan spokesman Mike Anderson said in a statement.

Those who are supporting Begich would be wise to tread carefully here. Republicans will be using any statement by challengers perceived to be anti-veteran. Earlier this month, in another hotly contested Senate race, the right jumped on Arkansas’ Sen. Mark Pryor’s statement that challenger Rep. Tom Cotton is viewing his service in the military as an “entitlement.” Pryor described Cotton’s attitude as, ‘I served my country, let me into the Senate.’”

Pryor, like Begich, is a Democrat running reelection in a red state. Neither are veterans. And their campaigns at times appear to parallel each other. Increasingly, Cotton and Sullivan’s campaigns also have similarities and national groups will likely use similar strategies to advance the candidates.

Sullivan’s campaign released the following timeline of his service:

May 2006—January 2009: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, Washington, D.C.

December 2004— April 2006: Active Duty Marine Corps, staff officer to CENTCOM Commander General John Abizaid

August 2002—December 2004: Director, International Economics Directorate of the National Security Council and National Economic Council staffs at the White House, Washington, D.C.

Contact Amanda Coyne at


10 thoughts on “Pro-Begich super-PAC calls Sullivan’s residency ‘fishy.’ Sullivan hits back.

  1. 357

    I wish Begich would tell us more about himself and his record than just tear down others. He seems to specialize in the “politics of attack ads”. I guess when you’re supporting an unpopular President most of the time its easier to attck your opponent than defend your own record.

  2. anonymous in south anchorage

    Begich stole the election from Ted Stevens with his lies and deceit. Now he is attempting to do the same thing this election. He doesn’t tout his record (why would he because his support of Obama is indefensible) and instead practices mud slinging and negativity. Can’t wait until election day.

  3. Brad

    Begich is a joke. His record alone is enough to get him voted out of office but he seems to be trying to piss off veterans and those currently serving, along with anyone who wasn’t born in Alaska but chose to make their home here. When Begich is someday asked about these attacks on Sullivan, he’ll deny it stating that he does not “coordinate” with PACs and can’t control what is in their adds. Alaskans won’t buy it.

  4. Mark Johnson

    I served in the military and know what it means to leave my home, my friends and family to defend our country. Deployment comes with many costs. Those like Senator Begich obviously doesn’t have any understanding or respect for what our service men and women face and the sacrifices they make. I do and find your campaign’s disregard for Dan Sullivan’s service reprehensible. This veteran will support a veteran for the U.S. Senate seat.Begich has proven to be unworthy and unfit for office.

  5. AK Patriot

    Mark Begich has crossed the line. He himself never had the courage to defend his country and now is criticizing Dan Sullivan for leaving the state to serve his country. Trying to take advantage of this to suggest that Sullivan is a carpetbagger disgusts me. Ted Stevens served his country in the military. Begich didn’t. Sullivan has served his nation as a Marine and put his life in harms way. Now alaska’s junior senator is criticizing him for being out of alaska while he was fighting the war on terrorism. It baffels me that Begich is willing to stoop so low. I had no idea he was such a shallow unpatriotic person. I am ashamed that my senator belittled an individual on their residency while he was serving our country. Mark Begich owes the vets of our state and Dan Sullivan an apology. Begich represents the gutless wonders of America and that is the nicest thing I can say about him.

  6. Lynn Willis

    Is there an issue facing Alaskans in any of this? I retired from the military prior to 9/11. I began service as a volunteer enlistee in 1968 during the Vietnam War – an era when, despite having a military populated by many draftees, we were not a very popular segment of the population with many Americans. In fact we were advised to not wear our uniforms even while traveling domestically to avoid public derision.
    How many of these sunshine patriots who now seem to love all things military and worship any action by a poltician “after 9/11” that could be described as service to the country were the derisive ones a generation ago? . How the worm has indeed turned.

  7. janet

    I saw another ad from the Begich campaign portraying Sullivan as a carpetbagger. This ad expands and pushes the same message; however, General Ralton’s comments puts the issue in a different light and has made me feel that Senator Begich has been somewhat disingenuous and playing fast and loose with the truth. Realizing that Sullivan was serving his country puts it in a totally different light. I think Senator Begich owes an apology to Dan Sullivan and all the Alaskans that saw this very bad ad.

  8. J. Williams

    I am a life long Democrat. I served my country in Korea. My grandson served his country bravely in Afghanistan. His grandmother and I worried everyday while he was there. We prayed for our country, his well-being and the safety of other US soldiers that were there in harms way. I am so angry at Begich’s attack on Dan Sullivan. That little basytard has never served his nation and to denigrate someone who has, someone for putting country first is the lowest I have ever seen an Alaskan politician go. Joe Ralston is right. Begich is capitalizing on Dan Sullivan’s service to America. Maybe if he would think about something other than himself and his elections, he’d have more respect for the men and women who have served our military in uniform. I don’t often vote for Republicans but this year after this small-minded horrrible attack on Dan Sullivan, I would VOTE FOR ANYONE OVER BEGICH. After this heartless attack, I don’t know how anyone who respects the military or who has served in the military could ever consider supporting Begich. Seems more and more like the Democrats in DC are turning their backs on veterans.

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