Tag Archives: alaska senate race

Controversial blogger has sights set on Alaska Senate race

Below are some recent tweets from the controversial blogger Charles C. Johnson, who has worked for Senate candidate Mead Treadwell’s campaign and who is currently at the center of the Mississippi Senate race mess. As I wrote earlier, Johnson worked on Treadwell’s campaign to help prepare him for the debates this summer. I also wrote that it’s unclear how much more Johnson would be involved. From his tweets, it’s clear that he intends to be very involved, particularly if he continues to raise money. Read some of those tweets below:

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Pro-Begich Super-PAC releases third ad attacking Sullivan on HB 77

Here’s another ad from Put Alaska First, the pro-Mark Begich super-PAC, going after GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan over HB 77. The ad features Beth Northlund, the executive director of Anchorage Park Foundation, talking about the controversial, complicated bill that got scuttled because of the controversy last legislative session. On one side, the rap on it is that it proposed to give unprecedented powers to the DNR commissioner to issue permits. At the time of its drafting, Sullivan was the DNR commissioner. Those who helped draft the bill, including Sullivan, said that it cut through red-tape that was impeding development. In any case, the public came out in droves to testify against it and the bill died in the Senate. This is the third ad Put Alaska First has made featuring HB 77. The first featured a moose hunter—the claims of which were a ‘stretch’—and the second featured well-known former Democratic lawmaker Sam Cotten. I’d bet that Put Alaska continues to focus on the issue because it works.

Here’s the response from the Sullivan campaign to the ad: Continue reading


Alaska GOP Senate debate might violate FEC laws. Will it go on?

What was supposed to be a relatively seamless GOP Senate candidate debate sponsored by four Alaska Republican women’s’ clubs, including the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club, has turned into an event which, as planned, might violate federal election laws.

The debate is scheduled for Thursday night at East High School in Anchorage, and all three major candidates—Joe Miller, Mead Treadwell, and Dan Sullivan—were expected to attend. The organizers were charging $10 at the door.

At issue is who, Continue reading


New ad features Sullivan as job creator, Begich as job killer

GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan released another ad on Wednesday. This one features Richard Faulkner, president of Anchorage-based Steelfab, and Peter Macksey, head of customer relations at Steelfab, the steel plant that U.S. Sen. Mark Begich featured in one of his own recent ads.  In that ad, Begich boasts that he got Steelfab “more business because I got the administration to allow more drilling.” When reached on the phone, however, Faulker called Begich’s claim “totally false” and was “upset,”  to put it politely, when he saw it.

The Sullivan ad says that as DNR commissioner, Sullivan got results, “1200 jobs worth of results,” Macksey says.

Macksey is referring to the North Slope’s Point Thomson, an oil and gas field about 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay. The field was originally discovered in 1977 Continue reading


National poll has Senate candidate Sullivan up in GOP primary

It’s not the very best time to take polls seriously, considering how startlingly wrong pollsters got the Virginia House race. Even the group which released the most recent public poll on the U.S. Senate primary in Alaska, got it wrong in Virginia. That said, the Daily Caller/Vox Populi poll didn’t get it as wrong as some other groups did, one of which had House Majority Leader Eric Cantor up more than 30 points. And it did sound the alarm a few days before the primary, saying that Cantor was “struggling.

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Another day, another Senate ad

From the Sunday New York Times piece about the Alaska Senate race:

Political ads are ubiquitous here already. They have run on Alaska airwaves nearly 20,000 times since early last year, according to Kantar Media, a monitoring and research firm. That is more than in North Carolina (18,000), Arkansas (13,000) and Louisiana (12,000), all of which are conservative states where Republicans believe they can pick off Democratic incumbents.

And as if on cue, here’s another ad. This one’s from GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, who, after months of silence, appears to be on a roll.

This ad is supposed to be a counter to a recent one by Put Alaska First, a pro-Begich super-PAC, which attacks Sullivan HB 77, one of the most controversial bills introduced in the state Legislature recently. The rap on it is that it proposed to give unprecedented powers to the DNR commissioner to issue permits. At the time of its drafting, Dan Sullivan was the DNR commissioner.

The ad, however, pivots away from HB 77, and instead focuses on federal gun control laws.

Smart, maybe.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com 


Begich mocks GOP candidate Sullivan in new ad

Of all the ads so far attacking U. S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, this one, from Sen. Mark Begich himself, is the most biting and probably the most effective.

Some background: Sullivan recently released an ad where he stands atop the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center and says that Alaska needs “real results, not just talk.” The issue: the convention center was built while Begich was Anchorage mayor, and Begich touts it as one of his biggest achievements. Hence the ad. Ouch.



New group forms to counter Koch brothers

American Bridge 21st Century– the group that has hired that guy to come up and follow GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan around with a camera – announced a new national digital/research/rapid-response project aimed at the Koch brothers and those who the brothers are supporting.

Here’s the YouTube ad that went out with the announcement of the group’s formation:

According to a memo leaked to Politico, the Koch brothers funded political arm, Americans for Prosperity, intends to spend $125 million on the upcoming midterm elections. Americans for Prosperity has already spent $2.5 million attacking U.S. Sen. Mark Begich. It gets confusing, however, because Begich himself is the only Senate candidate, including among the three Republican challengers, to whom the Koch brothers have donated. In 2010, they gave his leadership PAC $5,000.

David Brock, the founder of American Bridge, called the group’s new effort a “research-and-communications, first-of-its-kind war room that’s targeting the Koch brothers and also the GOP candidates who are benefiting from their … spending.”

In related Koch brothers news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday called for amending the U.S. Constitution to bar big money donors, like the Koch brothers, from unlimited donations to super-PACs.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


U.S. Senate candidate Mead Treadwell hires communications director

It appears that despite rumors that he was going to drop out of the primary, Republican Lt. Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Mead Treadwell is digging in. On Tuesday, Treadwell announced that his campaign has hired Tom Intorcio to serve as communications director.

Intorcio is no novice. He’s worked for Republican congressmen, was an Iowa field rep for Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign, and a field coordinator for President Bush’s 2004 campaign. He’s also been affiliated with a Patriot Voices, a grassroots group devoted to “liberty.” Watch him here talking about the group. Word is that the hire has been in the works for awhile.

According to two recent polls, Treadwell’s numbers have been falling while Dan Sullivan’s have been rising. A PPP poll released on Tuesday shows that among 313 Republican primary voters surveyed, Sullivan has a 14 point lead over Treadwell: 40 percent for Sullivan and 26 percent for Treadwell. Joe Miller, the other challenger, is falling in the polls with only 14 percent of GOP primary voters saying that they’d vote for him in August.

All of them lose to Sen. Mark Begich in the general, however. The poll, which surveyed 582 general election voters, has Sullivan losing by 5 points, Treadwell losing by 8 and Miller by 16 percentage points.

PPP is a Democratic leaning firm, and uses robo-calls to conduct its polls and has been suspect in the past. However, the numbers are fairly consistent with a poll paid for by Sullivan released in early May that used live interviewers.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Senate poll: GOP candidate Sullivan ahead of primary pack, even with Begich

A new poll, first released at the Alaska Republican Party annual convention in Juneau, shows that GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has a double-digit lead against the two other GOP contenders in the race, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller, with a large percent still undecided. It also finds that Alaska’s view of Sen. Mark Begich’s positive image has “tumbled” over the past months. As of the end of April when the poll was conducted, Begich was only two percentage points ahead of Sullivan in a general election.

The poll was conducted by Portland-based Moore Information, and was paid for by Sullivan.  It was conducted April 27-28, in 500 live interviews on both landline and cell phone. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent. Moore is associated with Republicans and has a long history for polling for Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young. The firm also polled for the late Sen. Ted Stevens.

The last time the firm polled early this year, Sullivan polled two percentage points behind Treadwell and ten points ahead of Joe Miller. By the end of April, however, 38 percent of primary voters were going to vote for Sullivan, while Treadwell would get 22 percent and Miller 12 percent. However, 29 percent of primary voters are still undecided, leaving lots of room for Treadwell and Miller to pick up support.

According to the poll, Begich’s positive image went from a net +17 positive to a net +5 today. “The more voters learn about Mark Begich and his ties to the Obama agenda, the less likely they are to hold a favorable impression of him and, conversely, the more likely to hold a negative opinion of him,” Moore’s Senior Vice President Hans Kaiser wrote in a narrative accompanying the poll.

Kaiser wrote that Begich’s vote on ObamaCare appears to be his most serious liability. Among undecided voters, 56 percent are less likely to vote for a candidate who supported Obamacare. More bad news for Begich: only 24 percent had a positive view of Obama while 63 percent had a negative view.

However, it’s impossible to say what those numbers really mean as the chart accompanying the poll didn’t show the total percentage points of undecided voters in the general election.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s first broadcast TV ad

I don’t think anyone would say that GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s ads so far have been as good as Sen. Mark Begich’s. The one released today–Sullivan’s first broadcast ad– is better. At least he’s talking to the camera with some conviction.

As to the ad’s veracity: Sullivan claims that Obama has gone to “war on American energy.” But domestic oil production has surged since Obama took office. In 2013, the United States was the world’s top producer of hydrocarbons, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. In Alaska, however, the major undeveloped fields are on federal lands, and the Obama administration has been sluggish to open those.

Begich’s campaign swiped back, and pointed to his work in what is poised to be the first commercial oil produced out Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. Sullivan is ignoring Begich’s “solid record of delivering for Alaska’s oil industry,” his campaign said in a statement.

However, Begich did campaign in 2008 on opening ANWR, which was as far fetched then as it is now.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com 


GOP Senate candidate Sullivan releases new campaign ad

U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan released a TV ad on Friday morning, claiming he’s the “conservative choice for U.S. Senate,” who has been endorsed by the Club for Growth, fought the EPA, ObamaCare, and for “pro-growth tax reform.” The ad isn’t going to make your heart melt. It’s not going to raise your blood pressure. It might not even capture your attention for 30 seconds. It’s a decidedly unexciting ad, from which Sullivan himself appears detached. However, the campaign has been polling, and maybe the buzz words will stick with some.


A first look at first quarter fundraising numbers in Alaska’s Senate race

The Federal Election Commission filings for the first quarter of the year are beginning to roll in and be analyzed. Here’s what some reporters in the national media are writing:

From the Huffington Post on Outside funding of Put Alaska First, the pro-Sen. Mark Begich super-PAC:

In advertisements to support Sen. Mark Begich (D), Alaska-based super PAC Put Alaska First has questioned the home-state credentials of the one-term senator’s opponents and critics. The group has cast potential Republican opponent Dan Sullivan as an interloper…But the pro-Begich Put Alaska First also relies heavily on out-of-state support, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Nearly all of its funds have come from the national Democratic group, Senate Majority PAC, and most of that money has been paid to a Democratic media buying firm created to work with Senate Majority PAC and other national super PACs.

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New Alaska Senate race poll has Treadwell ahead, Sullivan tied with Begich.

A new poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports, a national firm that’s associated with Republicans, has Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell beating Sen. Mark Begich in the general election. And it has Senate candidate Dan Sullivan tied with Begich. The poll, conducted March 19-20, robo-called 750 likely voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

According to the poll, if the vote was held the day of the call, Treadwell would be leading Begich 47 percent to 43 percent. If the matchup were between Sullivan and Begich, 44 percent would vote for Begich and 44 percent for Sullivan.

In addition, 37 percent approved of the healthcare law, while 60 percent disapproved. And 41 percent approve of President Obama’s job performance while 56 disapprove.

On the face of it, it’s a good-news poll for both Treadwell and Sullivan, who, along with former Senate candidate Joe Miller, are running in the GOP primary.

However, the poll comes with a huge caveat: It’s likely that a segment of the public is confusing two Dan Sullivans in the race. Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, who is running for lieutenant governor, is much more well-known than former Department of Natural Resource Commission and now Senate candidate Dan Sullivan.

Local pollster and political consultant Marc Hellenthal agreed that the public would likely be confused. He said that Senate candidate Sullivan hasn’t done the massive media buy yet necessary to distinguish himself from the mayor of Anchorage.

Too, although it does better in Alaska than some robo-polling firms, Rasmussen has been highly criticized for its biased polls. Nate Silver, the uber polling cruncher, said the following about the firm in 2010:

Rasmussen, for instance, generally conducts all of its interviews during a single, 4-hour window; speaks with the first person it reaches on the phone rather than using a random selection process; does not call cellphones; does not call back respondents whom it misses initially; and uses a computer script rather than live interviewers to conduct its surveys. These are cost-saving measures which contribute to very low response rates and may lead to biased samples. Rasmussen also weights their surveys based on preordained assumptions about the party identification of voters in each state, a relatively unusual practice that many polling firms consider dubious since party identification (unlike characteristics like age and gender) is often quite fluid.

Read more here. 

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Condoleezza Rice defends Senate candidate Sullivan in new American Crossroads ad

On Saturday, American Crossroads, the super-PAC founded by Karl Rove, released an ad defending Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan against questions about his Alaska residency. The commercial is narrated by his former boss, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying that Sullivan’s time away from the state, for which he is being questioned, was spent in the service of his country.

“Dan Sullivan is tireless in the defense of his country,” Rice says. “He showed that in his service in the military and his service in the White House and the State Department.”

On Saturday, American Crossroads filed a $191,757 expenditure on the Alaska race with the FEC. It’s unclear how much of that money is going to this ad.

A pro-Mark Begich super-PAC has aired two ads questioning Sullivan’s residency. The last one called his claims “fishy.” Sullivan, a Marine, moved to Alaska in 1997 before moving to D.C. in 2002 to work in the White House and the State Department under Rice. While in D.C., he bought a house in Maryland and said that it was his primary residence. He was called to active duty from 2004 to 2006. He came back to the state full time in 2009 to become Alaska’s Attorney General and then the state’s Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.

That same year he claimed he was a non-resident when he applied for a fishing license because he had not lived in the state for the previous 12 consecutive months. Hence the title of the attack ad.

A group of veterans gathered in Anchorage last week in defense of Sullivan. Many of them said that they too had to travel while serving and they feel that an attack on Sullivan is an attack on them.

Sullivan himself has not yet himself released an ad responding.

The fact that American Crossroads has entered the race is significant because Sullivan is in a three-way contested primary and is not yet the party nominee. Two other candidates, Joe Miller and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, are still running for that spot.

Meantime, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has released a rather dramatic ad, tying recent comments by Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor about his opponent to the pro-Begich super-PAC ads. “From Arkansas to Alaska Democrats are attacking a noble act: military service,” the ad says.

To be clear, nobody has outright attacked Sullivan for being in the military.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com