Tag Archives: dan sullivan alaska

Assistant AG who penned ‘Stand Your Ground’ letter confirms Sullivan’s account

I got some pushback this morning about the piece that I published earlier on GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s support, or lack of support, for the ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill that was introduced while Sullivan was the state’s Attorney General, and passed last legislative session. The issue is being used against him to imply that he’s soft on gun rights.

At issue is an impassioned letter written by Assistant Attorney General John Skidmore, detailing concerns with the bill. The letter said that as written, the bill was dangerous and could lead to loss of life. As is standard procedure, Dan Sullivan’s name is on the letter, but Skidmore signed it. Sullivan has claimed that he always supported ‘Stand Your Ground,’ but that letter called those claims into question.

Sullivan said that he didn’t have knowledge of that letter. A reader suggested that I call Skidmore to check if that was true. I did. Continue reading


Sullivan calls on Begich to reject ObamaCare on eve of fourth anniversary of passage

Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan put out a release today bashing U.S. Sen. Mark Begich over his support for Obamacare. Saturday will mark the four-year anniversary of the act’s passage. In anticipation of the anniversary, Sullivan called on Begich to reject the act. “Simply put, ObamaCare is bad for Alaska,” Sullivan’s campaign spokesperson, Mike Anderson said.

So far, more than five million people have signed up for health care under the Affordable Care Act, including more than 6,600 Alaskans, including this one, who would not have been able to afford it otherwise. Those are just the people who signed up online, not including those who have gotten it directly from insurance companies.

Sullivan supports full repeal of the law, but has yet to detail what would replace it, joining Republicans across the country who are likewise stymied. But “repeal” makes a good campaign slogan in a conservative state like Alaska. And it appears to be particularly easy to use for those who have been insured with the government’s help and who haven’t been subject to the whims of the private insurance market.

Sullivan’s campaign has not yet answered questions about his own policy.

People who have signed up for insurance under ObamaCare, and who might be kicked off their plans if Republicans had their way, are beginning to fight back. The nonprofit spinoff of President Obama’s campaign committee, Organizing for America, has taken a page from the tea party playbook and has been passing out “Don’t Tread on My ObamaCare” bumper stickers, complete with the Gadsden flag.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Senate candidate Sullivan has more contributors than Dems say, but still not enough.

On Friday the Alaska Democratic Party put out a press release about the number of Alaskans who contributed to U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s campaign. The Dems, quoting the Alaska Dispatch, said that Sullivan’s fourth-quarter FEC report shows that he only had 130 Alaska contributors. This is evidence, they say, of Sullivan’s tepid support in this state. Sullivan’s from Ohio, and has been back and forth from Alaska to D.C. since 1997, and his challengers have been trying to paint him as a carpetbagger.

Raising nearly $1.3 million, Sullivan leads the money race among the GOP primary-race contenders, and although he doesn’t have as much money on hand, he outraised incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, who raised about $850,000 during the last quarter. Although the percentages of total funds raised inside and outside the state were about the same for both, the release pointed out that Begich had more than 1,100 Alaska contributions during the same period.

The truth, however, is more complicated. According to his campaign, Sullivan actually had 320 Alaska donors, but because unlike Begich, the campaign didn’t list donors who gave less than $250 $200, those people don’t show on the FEC report.

Too, Sullivan doesn’t have nearly the same name recognition as does Begich and entered the race two weeks into the filing period.

Still 320 Alaskan donations is a small number, and the campaign needs to be more effective in reaching out to Alaskans if it wants to be competitive against Begich. From what I can tell so far, Sullivan’s campaign is still focusing its attention on attracting large, out-of-state donors. It’s only released one web-based ad and doesn’t appear to be as acitve soliciting Alaska donors as his competitors.

Begich, in the meantime, is aggressively sending out numerous fundraising appeals. Additionally, his campaign  has aired several radio ads, and third-party groups, including the National Association of Realtors, the American Chemistry Council, and Bristol Bay Native Corp., are airing ads thanking Begich for his support.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Senate candidate Dan Sullivan amasses big war chest

U.S. Senate candidate and former DNR commissioner Dan Sullivan announced on Tuesday morning that his campaign has raised just over $1.25 million since mid October, when he got into the Senate race.

That’s an impressive enough haul that it will likely catapult Sullivan from a relative unknown to a frontrunner in the three-way Republican primary race, which includes Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and former Senate candidate Joe Miller. Whoever wins that will take on Sen. Mark Begich in the general election.

Treadwell announced his run in June. As of the end of September, he had only raised $327,000.He hasn’t yet released fundraising numbers for the most recent reporting period. Meanwhile, Miller seems more interested in organizing his base than in raising big money. He raised $32,000 through September and had $288,000 cash on hand.

“I am honored and thankful for the support that I have received from Alaskans and people across the country who believe that America’s best days are ahead,” Sullivan said.  “This is a clear sign that our message on the need to roll back the President Obama-Harry Reid-Mark Begich agenda is resonating.”

Because official FEC reports aren’t due until Jan. 31, it’s unclear who donated to Sullivan. When they are officially released, the reports will likely be combed over by his opponents, who have at various times accused him of being a consummate D.C. insider and a carpetbagger from Ohio.

Sullivan was born and raised in Ohio. He moved to Alaska in 1997 after getting a Georgetown law degree to clerk for various judges. He left in 2002 to work under President George W. Bush. He returned to the state in 2009 to be Alaska’s attorney general and then the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. Sullivan has also served in the Marine Corps since 1993, both on active duty and in the reserves. In July he was called to active duty to work on a counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Is Dan Sullivan willing to fight to be elected to U.S. Senate?

Former Commissioner Dan Sullivan, who is running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, sent out a Veterans Day message outlining his plans for, among other things, better health care for vets, reducing the backlog of veterans’ benefits, and creating more jobs for vets. (Read the plan here.)

If it were sent in a timely manner, his plan and his candidacy might have gotten some attention. As it was, it arrived in my inbox at 11 p.m. on Monday night, though the campaign says they sent it out earlier that day. In any case, it missed deadlines and was a missed opportunity. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is also running in the primary, has not listed veterans’ issues as a priority on his website. To mark the day, he only put out a cursory thanks to vets message on Facebook. Sullivan’s other opponent, Joe Miller, is an Iraq war veteran, but he didn’t himself make mention of vets on Monday.

The country is hungry for stories about vets on Veterans Day, and Sullivan has a good one. He is a former active Marine and is still in the reserves. As a reservist, he was sent to Afghanistan on a counter-terrorism mission as recently as July.

According to the Washington Post, there will be only 12 U.S. senators who have been in active duty in the Congress. During the Cold War, 70 percent of the U.S. Congress were veterans, and in 1977, 80 percent had been in active duty.

The Post highlights some research suggesting why it might matter for policy making:

— On issues that concern the use of force and the acceptance of casualties, the opinions of veterans track more closely with those of active military officers than with civilians.
— The U.S. initiates fewer military disputes when there are more veterans in the U.S. political elite (the cabinet and the Congress).
— The U.S. uses more force in the disputes it initiates when there are more veterans in the U.S. political elite.
— Veterans are less likely to accept U.S. casualties for interventionist uses of force than for “realpolitik” uses of force.

I’ve been told that Sullivan has been reticent to turn his military service into a campaign issue. If true, it’s understandable and if he’s doing it in fear of staining the honor of his uniform, then it’s even admirable. But there’s a fine line between being admirable and being lofty. Politics is its own war and it’s one fought in the mud. If Sullivan is truly hungry to be senator for the right reasons, like those vets, then he’ll get down from his perch with the rest of the pile and use whatever he has to fight.

Or he can continue to go to fancy D.C. fundraisers and send out plans and policy initiatives that nobody reads.

CLARIFICATION: The text has been changed to reflect that the campaign said that the release was sent earlier that day.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com  


Dan Sullivan finally announces for U.S. Senate

In front of a crowd of about 60, former Alaska Attorney General and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan at long last announced that he’s running for U.S. Senate, a fact that took few by surprise. For months, rumors have been swirling about his impending run.

Sullivan will be taking on Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller in the Republican primary. The victor will then go on to try to beat Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. Miller issued a press release welcoming the competition and Sullivan into the race. Shortly after his speech, Alaska’s Democratic Party sent out a release trashing Sullivan, calling him an “establishment” candidate who has the “stamp of approval from Washington insiders.”

At the announcement, Sullivan billed himself as the candidate who was both experienced and optimistic. A Marine and the tough “fighter” who can beat U.S. Sen. Mark Begich in the general election. The one who sees Alaska’s future as one that will help the rest of the country grow. The father of three young girls and the husband who is in love with his Athabascan wife. The one who can be both simultaneously detached and engaged enough to display to the audience that illusive quality best known as “charm.”

During his speech, Sullivan touched on the general themes of this campaign, mostly about how the state can take the lead on what he called the country’s “energy renaissance,” but didn’t get specific. How would he help try to save the government from impending financial collapse? What about the shutdown? Where does he stand on the hot button social issues? How is he different from his Republican rivals?

The answers have to wait for another day. For all the months that Sullivan had to plan for the announcement, for all of his supposed “establishment” credentials —  including being a former U.S. assistant secretary of state under President George W. Bush — apparently no planning went into answering media questions following his speech.

“There’s plenty of time to answering questions,” he said. “You know me,” he told members of the media. “I’ll answer your questions,” before walking away to talk to people in the crowd.

It’s true that since Sullivan took the job as attorney general in 2010, and then later as DNR commissioner, he’s been generally available to the media. The fact that he wasn’t on what could be the biggest day of his political career was puzzling.

Indeed, there’s time. The primary election is more than 9 months away. But one of the biggest issues for Sullivan will be differentiating himself from Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, who is running for lieutenant governor. It also doesn’t help that there’s another Dan Sullivan in Arkansas who is also running for U.S. Senate against a Democratic incumbent, a state whose postal code often gets confused with Alaska’s.

When Bill Clinton was running for president, some of his mail ended up at the post office in Hope, Alaska instead of his hometown in Arkansas.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Commissioner Dan Sullivan is now again Lt. Colonel Sullivan

Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan is now, once again, Lt. Colonel Sullivan. Sullivan, who is in the Marine Corps Reserves, is being called to active duty on Sunday. Sources say that he’ll be heading for Afghanistan to work on an anti-terrorism mission.

Deputy Commissioner Joe Balash is expected to be named acting commissioner during his deployment. It’s been speculated that upon his return, Sullivan will announce that he’s running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat incumbent Mark Begich.

In a state where the number of veterans per capita ranks as one of the highest in the nation, Sullivan’s military service and deployment is thought by many political observers to be a strong political asset should he become a candidate.

Sullivan has served in the Marine Corps since 1993 on active duty and in the reserves as an infantry and reconnaissance officer.

He’s been recalled to active duty in both 2006 and 2009.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com