As I wrote last night that he would do, Gov. Sean Parnell announced on Thursday morning that Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan submitted his resignation letter. Although he doesn’t say so in his letter, Sullivan is resigning effective Sept. 24 to run for the U.S. Senate Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democrat Mark Begich.
“As I explore new opportunities and challenges in the next phase of my life, I intend to seek ways to continue to serve my fellow Alaskans,” Sullivan wrote.
“As attorney general, Dan played a major role in the Choose Respect initiative and fought hard against federal overreach,” Parnell said in his announcement. “During his tenure as commissioner, Dan led the state’s efforts in resource development and permitting reform, and worked to resolve Pt. Thomson litigation – setting the stage for a natural gas pipeline.”
In his resignation letter Sullivan is more specific about his successes as both Alaska’s AG and as DNR commissioner:
- Protecting Alaska’s most vulnerable through the Choose Respect Initiative;
- Spearheading the Cook Inlet energy renaissance;
- Promoting increased oil production and jobs through the More Alaska Production Act;
- Accelerating the commercialization of North Slope gas for Alaskans’ benefit;
- Resolving Point Thomson and jump starting this multi-billion dollar North Slope development;
- Slashing permitting backlogs and streamlining the State’s regulatory system;
- Going on offense on ANWR exploration; and
- Effectively fighting against federal overreach into the lives of Alaskans and our economy.
Sullivan will be running in the primary against current Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and former Senate candidate Joe Miller. Treadwell is kicking off his campaign today.
Both Sullivan and Treadwell are considered more “establishment” candidates, to the extent there is an “establishment” in Alaska. Miller is, well, Miller.
Because the party makeup of the U.S. Senate might very well rest on this race, people who are watching are nervous that Treadwell and Sullivan will pave the way for Miller to claim victory in a Republican primary, as he did when he ran against U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Between Treadwell and Sullivan, Karl Rove, for one, has deemed Sullivan to be the more winnable and is prepared to put money through at least one super PAC that he spearheaded to help ward off Tea Party candidates such as Miller.
Sullivan looks good on paper. He’s got a Harvard undergraduate degree and a law degree from Georgetown. He’s a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. He’s been in the United States Marine Corps since 1993, and just got back from reservist duty where he was on a counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan. He’s married to Julie Fate, whose mother is a respected Native Alaska leader and whose father is a former Fairbanks lawmaker.
However, unlike Treadwell, Sullivan has never run for office. Treadwell can fight tough and dirty if need be.
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