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.”