Vets gathered to defend GOP Senate candidate Sullivan against ‘fishy’ residency claims

Seven veterans and one father of a vet who died while serving in Iraq gathered at the Veterans Memorial on the Anchorage Park Strip to defend GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, a Marine, against questions about his residency in the state.

Those who are questioning Sullivan’s residency “should be ashamed of themselves for attacking Dan Sullivan’s service to America,” said Daniel Juarez, who served with Sullivan in the Marine Reserves. He also said that those who are “attacking” Sullivan should “apologize to service men and women across the country.”

Sullivan is a Marine reservist who’s been in and out of active duty since 1993. Sullivan moved to the state in 1997. However, he was absent for seven years since that time. He left Alaska in 2002 to work at the White House and the State Department before coming back to the state in 2009. For two years during, from 2004 to 2006, he was called into active duty.

Because of his absence from Alaska, the pro-Begich super-PAC, Put Alaska First, has been airing ads questioning Sullivan’s residency claims. The most recent ad calls those claims “fishy.” Likewise, the Alaska Democratic Party, quoting an Anchorage Daily News story, says that Sullivan continues to “airbrush” his residency.

The campaign, as well as the veterans who had gathered on Tuesday, said that the time he spent away from Alaska, both in D.C. and while on active duty, was in service of his country following 9/11. Many who spoke said that they, too, had left the state for the service. They feel that an attack on Sullivan is an attack on them.

“I met Dan Sullivan while both of us were serving up here in the Marines and I understand the difficulty in having to relocate to serve your country,” said retired Marine Corps officer Casey Campbell.

Wayne Woods was there. Woods lost his son, Shane Woods, in Iraq in 2006 while serving in the Army. Shane’s name is on the memorial. Wayne came to show his support of Sullivan because Sullivan, he said “has the same values as my son.”

As I wrote on Sunday, Alaska is chock-full of veterans, and those who are supporting Begich would be wise to tread carefully here. In addition to potentially offending veterans in the state, the national 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.’”

Sullivan himself was with his wife and three school-aged daughters on spring break.

Shortly after the press conference, Begich’s campaign issued the following press release touting Begich’s commitment to vets in the state:

“As a member of the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee since 2009 U.S. Senator Mark Begich has fought to improve care and services offered to Alaska’s veterans with his unique understanding of rural and urban Alaska.

Begich’s record includes:

Alaska Territorial Guard – In 2009, Senator Begich successfully secured reinstatement of pension payments for members of the WWII-era Alaska Territorial Guard.

“Significant legislative victory for veterans” – The Disabled American Veterans called Begich’s push to establish advanced appropriation for veterans health programs “the most significant legislative victory of veterans in a generation.”

Extended TRICARE for Military Dependents – In 2011, Begich helped extended TRICARE services for dependent children of military members to the age of 26.

Waived Telehealth Copays – In 2012, Begich and Sen. Grassley’s proposal to waive copays for telehealth and telemedicine visits for veterans was signed into law.

Historic Rural Care Access – Begich followed through on campaign promise to help veterans access care closer to home by allowing rural veterans access to Native health facilities.

U.S. Navy Award – In February 2013, Begich was given the highest civilian award from the U.S. Navy, the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, for outstanding service and work on behalf of the Navy.

Gene Horner, Alaska veteran, agrees with Begich’s record of accomplishment and today lauded his efforts in the U.S. Senate:

Gene Horner – Retired Army Vietnam Veteran:

“Mark has personally been there for Alaska’s military families, from fighting in Congress, to working with the VA, when veterans need him he answers the call. He’s fought for Alaska’s military past and present including those who served our country before statehood. He listens to us both as veterans and fellow Alaskans and recognizes the sacrifices we have made. Mark has always been a fighter for Alaskans in uniform.”

Contact Amanda Coyne at

Correction: Sullivan has three daughters, not two, as the story originally said. Also, the timeline has been updated.


11 thoughts on “Vets gathered to defend GOP Senate candidate Sullivan against ‘fishy’ residency claims

  1. sacker

    That’s what I was thinking. Easy enough to know where the guy lives – it’s wherever wife is and children go to school. Do we know where that is?
    His campaign has stooped to using his kids and name-dropping their schools and classmates on Facebook. South and Goldenview. Also, they went to Easter mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
    So there we go. Anchorage, at least right now.

  2. Craig

    Yeah we get it, I think three comments in an hour is enough to prove your point. Begich hates Veterans and none of them should vote for him. Point received.

    I’d like to make another point clear. Alaskans aren’t getting emotional and being taken away on your martyr-train down ‘vote for the carpet-bagger rails’. I don’t even mind the Dan Sullivan name confusion. I hope Dan wins in his Primary, because all the money in the world won’t prove to Alaskans that you’re one of us. Then I’ll have two Dan’s I get to cast my vote against come August.

    This is the state that elected Sarah Palin. This is the state that let Joe Miller win in a Primary against Lisa (who had some extra 2 million in the bank) do you think your money means anything here? But again, I’m praying that Sullivan will win. I think Mark is great and if Sullivan is the opposition, I’m glad that Mark will go back to D.C. for another six years.

  3. anonymous palmer resident

    Mark Begich has stooped lower than any politician I have ever known. To take exception to a candidate’s residency be criticizing their absencve while he was serving the nation is the lowest most despicable action I have ever witnessed from an elected official. This alone makes Begich unfit for public offfice. Unlike Sullivan, Begich is a career politician who has a history of mud slinging and doing whatever it takes to win an election. I’d like to extend my gratitude to the vets that stood up to Begich’s lies and distortions by using the old fashioned political technique called the truth.

  4. northern lights watcher

    Glad Begich’s campaign of negativity, mud slingoing and dirty tricks has beackfired on him. The vets who participated in the press conference were rightly offended by Begich. Maybe Begich will learn not be such a low life prick.

  5. G Williams

    As a veteran, I am disgusted with Begich’s lack of respect for people who have served their country. Deployment is very disruptive to families. Begich’s residency criticism is unfounded and insensitive. He owes Sullivan and every veteran in this state an apology.

  6. Joesph

    Can we just call Dan by his middle name? We’ve already got a Dan Sullivan in Alaska. Dan is now Scott. He can even go by Great Scott if he thinks it’ll help. Let it be written, let it be known.

  7. KM Compton

    Dan Sullivan wasn’t even at his own press conference because he is on spring break? Do his daughters go to school in Anchorage? I’m a mom with 2 kids in the Anchorage School District and spring break was last week…. Now that’s fishy.

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