Tag Archives: dan sullivan

Tensions mount between Miller and Treadwell at GOP candidates forum

Except for a few heated exchanges between Joe Miller and Mead Treadwell, which spilled over onto twitter (see below), the GOP Senate candidates pretty much stuck to their already-public statements on women’s rights and gay marriage at the “social issues” forum on Monday afternoon. The forum was sponsored by the Alaska Family Action, the political arm of the Alaska Family Council.

In advance of the event, the candidates filled out a survey that outlined their position on social issues. All of them are against gay marriage and all of them are pro-life and want to see abortion outlawed in most cases. Continue reading


Will NRSC endorse in Alaska GOP primary? Murkowski to stay neutral.

According to the D.C.-based publication The Hill, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is leaving open the option to endorse in Alaska’s GOP Senate primary, which, if it happens, would be a move that would break with protocol. So far, the NRSC has remained neutral, but according to Executive Director Rob Collins “we reserve the right to endorse.”

Here’s Collins:

I’ve also said early on in my tenure at NRSC that if the Democrats attempt to choose our nominees we will plot a course that Republicans are responding. This isn’t particularly directed at Alaska but just generally we have not sat idly as we’ve watched Harry Reid’s efforts to choose whom the Republicans nominate.

The pro-Begich super-PAC, Put Alaska First, has spent more than $3.7 million attacking GOP candidate Dan Sullivan. So far, the PAC has left the other candidates, Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller, out of the race.

In a phone interview on Thursday, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski shared Collins’ frustration Continue reading


Leading up to GOP primary, Put Alaska First puts its money into going after Sullivan

Here’s the latest attack ad against U.S. Sen. candidate Dan Sullivan by the pro-Mark Begich super-PAC Put Alaska First, entitled “Decisions.” The ad is part of a new $439,000 media buy, which runs from August 1-10. This one, like the previous Put Alaska First ads, focuses on Sullivan’s role in HB77, a highly controversial bill that died in the Legislature last session amid public outcry. The bill would have cut through the permitting process to develop Alaska’s lands, and would have cut some Alaskans out of the process.

The ad is a compilation of the others that have gone before it. The kicker is when former Democratic lawmaker Sam Cotten says, “This idea was absolutely cooked up from someone who wasn’t from here,”  which continues the theme of Sullivan not being from the state. It should be noted, however, that although Sullivan had a hand in drafting the bill, many Alaskan Republican lawmakers, as well as Gov. Sean Parnell, and many in the Department of Natural Resources including the current commissioner, supported the bill.

Put Alaska First has spent at least $3.5 million going after Sullivan, with some success, according to polls, which show Sullivan having higher negatives than would be normal for someone who has never held elected office. So far, the PAC has left the other candidates, Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller largely alone. Expect more ads against Sullivan leading up to the primary.

Anchorage-based political consultant Marc Hellenthal said that you can tell who Begich and his supporters are most threatened by based on those ads. They’d love to see Miller win, he said. But that’s likely too much of a long-shot. So they’ve settled on Treadwell.

“Begich wants Treadwell to win, or he’d be attacking him,” Hellenthal said. “They don’t want to run against Sullivan.”



Treadwell and Sullivan trade barbs over ‘Stand Your Ground’

GOP Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell continued the attack against fellow Republican candidate Dan Sullivan over Sullivan’s support on ‘Stand Your Ground’ legislation. Sullivan has said that he supported the legislation, and helped pass it while he was the state’s attorney general. Treadwell, and the other candidate in the campaign, Joe Miller, as well as Sen. Mark Begich’s allies, and one political fact-checking organization, have all questioned Sullivan’s support for ‘Stand Your Ground.’

Treadwell, who said it was important to be honest, went so far as to issue a challenge: “Produce one piece of credible, time-stamped evidence that proves you fought to pass Stand your Ground during your tenure as Attorney General, and I’ll put up one of your campaign signs in my yard,” Treadwell wrote in a release on Wednesday.

Sullivan’s campaign spokesman Mike Anderson fired back: Continue reading


New poll shows a tightening in Senate race, oil tax repeal winning

Anchorage-based pollster and political consultant Mark Hellenthal released a wide-ranging poll on Wednesday, which shows, among other things, that if the election were held today, SB 21, or the oil tax legislation that was passed by the Legislature, would likely be repealed by a slim margin. It also showed that while Dan Sullivan has the lead in the U.S. Senate primary, it might not be as wide a lead between Sullivan and Mead Treadwell — the two leading candidates — as Sullivan’s internal polling has suggested. Continue reading


Three GOP Senate hopefuls take to the stage for first debate

On Thursday night, the three Republican Senate candidates—Joe Miller, Mead Treadwell, and Dan Sullivan—took to the stage for the first primary debate that featured all three. The lead-up to the debate was not without drama, which culminated with the former chair of the Republican Party, Randy Ruedrich, filing a complaint with APOC against the Anchorage Women’s Republican Club, which organized it.

But all that drama, as these things do, fell away as the candidates stepped on stage, where for two hours–without a break–they answered questions from the organizers, Continue reading


New American Crossroads ad attacks Begich over taking undue credit

Below is an American Crossroads ad attacking U.S. Sen. Mark Begich for taking credit for things that the ad claims he shouldn’t take credit for. The ad continues a theme that has been playing out between the campaigns of GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan and Begich for weeks now. (See the ads here, here and here.)

As expected, it quotes Rep. Don Young, who recently told a camera crew during a recent campaign shoot in Fairbanks, that he was tired of Begich’s claims about his accomplishments. “Don’t take credit for something you did not do,” Young said in an impromptu interview by a camera crew that regularly works for Young and for Art Hackney, an Anchorage based ad-man and strategists for American Crossroads.

Among other things, Young was referring to a road that was recently built in National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, that was an effort by Continue reading


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


Wash Post lowers Begich’s chances of winning, still betting on Sullivan in primary

The Washington Posts’ Election Lab, a joint effort between the Post and a group of political scientists, now only gives Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich a 43 percent chance of retaining his seat in the upcoming election. That’s a six-point drop since May, when the Lab gave Begich a 49 percent chance of keeping his seat.

What’s changed? Campaign contributions, said political scientist Eric McGhee, who is a contributor to the project. The group has yet to include polls in its model, and unlike other people and organizations that predict races, its model doesn’t include subjective information, 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


GOP Senate hopeful Sullivan calls on Begich to sign pledge limiting Outside spending

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 amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


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 


GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan returns favor and fires back at Begich

Sen. Mark Begich, as well as the super-PAC that supports him, have repeatedly gone after GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan for everything from residency questions to support of a permitting bill. In an ad released last week, Begich mocked Sullivan for a commercial Sullivan shot atop the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, which was built during Begich’s tenure as mayor of Anchorage, and which he considered one of his crowing achievements. Begich then offers Sullivan advice on other sites he might consider for future ads.

Sullivan accepts the advice and fires back at Begich for the first time. The results are pretty good. And for the first time, Sullivan appears relaxed, proves that he has a personality, and seems to be having fun on camera.


New poll shows GOP Senate candidates Treadwell and Sullivan neck and neck

Anchorage-based Dittman Research released a poll today that shows that GOP Senate candidates Dan Sullivan and Lieutenant Gov. Mead Treadwell running neck and neck. The poll, paid for by Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, surveyed 500 likely GOP primary voters May 27 – 29. It showed Mead Treadwell with 35 percent of the vote, Dan Sullivan with 37 percent, and Joe Miller with 12 percent. The margin of error is 4.4 percent.

The poll also showed Treadwell with a 74 percent favorable approval rating, Sullivan with a 62 percent, and Miller with a 35 percent favorable rating. Because Independents and nonpartisans are allowed to vote in the Republican primary, Dittman’s sample included 60 percent registered Republicans, Matt Larkin, who owns Dittman, said.

Larkin said that he wasn’t authorized to release the full poll, which also surveyed the lieutenant governor’s race.

Treadwell, naturally, appears happy with the numbers. “Washington, DC power brokers may have made a decision on who the GOP candidate should be, but Alaskans didn’t get the memo,” Treadwell said in a statement. He was referring to Sullivan, who has by far raised the most money in the race and has been considered the frontrunner.

Sullivan’s spokesperson said that it was hard to respond without seeing the full poll. However, he said “one thing is clear, Dan Sullivan is the only candidate that Mark Begich is afraid to take on in the fall.” He said that’s why Begich and those who support him are attacking Sullivan

A poll conducted by Portland-based Moore Research showed that at the end of April, Sullivan had a 16 percent lead over Mead Treadwell and a 26 percentage point lead over Joe Miller with 38 percent of primary voters still undecided.

Moore, like Dittman, is long-associated with Republicans and has a long history for polling for Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young. Both firms also polled for the late Sen. Ted Stevens.

Only one thing is for sure: There will be lots of conflicting poll numbers in the coming months.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki resigns

Amid increasing pressure from first Republicans and then Democratic lawmakers, President Barack Obama said Friday that he had accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

“I want to reiterate: he is a very good man,” Obama said, but the secretary came to believe that “he could not carry out the next stages of reform without being a distraction.”

Shinseki had been under fire from the VA scandal that left hundreds of veterans waiting for healthcare for hundreds of days. In Alaska, GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has been pressuring Sen. Mark Begich to call for Shinseki’s resignation after a preliminary report was released this week that detailed problems with the VA.

Begich sits on the Veterans Affairs Committee.

This week, Sullivan’s campaign put out a series of releases about Begich and Shinseki, calling Begich, among other things, “derelict” for not demanding Shinseki’s resignation.

On Thursday, Begich held a press conference and called the scandal “unacceptable and outrageous,” and said that he was doing everything in his power to fix the situation. However, he said that he was going to wait until a final report was released before deciding whether or not to call for Shinseki’s resignation.

This week also Kark Rove’s super-PAC, Crossroads, had started running ads tying Begich to the scandal.

The pressure on Begich wasn’t likely the sole reason for Shinseki’s resignation, but it probably added to the decision, as did pressure the administration was feeling from other Senate Democrats, some of them up for reelection.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com