In a bold move that surprised many, this writer included, GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan on Tuesday announced a plan to try to counter the influence of third party money in Alaska’s Senate race. First, he asked U.S. Sen. Mark Begich to call on third party spending groups, including super-PACS, to cease all television and radio ads which “clearly identifies either of us and supports or attacks our campaigns.” And if the groups don’t obey, Sullivan wants Begich to agree to donate 50 percent of an individual ad buy to the charity of the opposing candidate’s choice.
Sullivan called it “The Alaska Agreement.”
The money that each candidate raises on his own would not be subject to the deal.
“We’re confident in our ability to go mano-a-mano with Mark Begich,” Sullivan said, referring to direct candidate contributions. That said, Sullivan said that he supports Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that allowed unlimited PAC money into races such as this one.
A similar plan to what Sullivan is proposing has worked elsewhere. In the 2012 Massachusetts Senate race, Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown agreed to the “People’s Pledge,” It worked to cut outside spending to about one-tenth of what the candidates themselves spent.
In the Alaska Senate race alone, campaign spending placed on TV and radio has now exceeded $20 million from February through election day in November. This leaves little, if any, airtime for other races, including the governor’s race.
As of this writing, it’s unclear if Begich will sign the agreement. If he doesn’t, it will make it more difficult to decry Outside spending and super-PAC money, something that he’s done no less than 100 times in fundraising emails and press releases, even as his own campaign has greatly benefited from such spending.
I’m trailing Sullivan today in the Valley and this will definitely come up. I’ll have more later.
Contact Amanda Coyne at email@example.com