Tag Archives: senate race alaska

Treadwell’s new web ad: ‘The True Alaskan Conservative’

On Thursday, GOP Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell released an ad today, entitled “The True Alaskan Conservative.”

The theme of the commercial is that Treadwell is the true conservative who will fight the federal government for Alaska. It feels a little uninspired, say nothing of jumpy, but maybe I’m already inured to political ads. I liked his old ones better, when he hesitated and stuttered some, like a wise professor you want to drink tea with. This one feels a little like he’s been shoved in a suit and told to play a role. The message, however, might resonate with primary voters.

His spokesperson Tom Intorcio, tweeted that it was a TV ad, but it’s not. It’s a web ad.


New Sullivan ad touts Cook Inlet gas

Below is U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s latest ad focusing on natural gas production in the Cook Inlet. In the ad, Sullivan is taking credit for helping bring to life what was considered a “dead” basin. “Companies were leaving. Energy production was declining” he says. “But instead of giving up, we stood strong and turned this basin into a source of new energy for Alaska. Creating jobs and opportunity, increasing investment in energy security for Alaskans.”

All of that is true, technically. There is a lot of optimism about future gas supplies, and much of the reason for the optimism results from a bill, penned with Sullivan’s help, in 2010 that gave generous tax incentives to companies to explore for gas in the basin. That said, as of yet, there’s been no overall net increase in the production in the Inlet. In fact, from 2003 to 2010, production has dropped nearly in half, from about 202 million MCF to 130 million MCF, according to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. In 2013, it dropped to a precariously low 107 million MCF. However, there is a tremendous amount of activity in the Cook Inlet that wasn’t there before 2010. And going from exploration to production can take years.


Silver says GOP now favored to take over Senate. Begich’s odds decreasing.

In his new ESPN blog, poll cruncher Nate Silver says that because of President Obama’s low poll numbers and the GOP’s recruitment successes, Republicans now have a slight chance to take over the Senate.

In his last thorough analysis of the race in the summer, Silver had classified the Senate as a toss-up. He gave U.S. Sen. Mark Begich a 60 percent probability of winning the state. Silver still continues to favor Begich, but that probability has shrunk some. Now, he gives Begich a 55 percent probability of winning the race.

Caution: Silver, who doesn’t poll himself but crunches the polls of others, has been wrong about Alaska before.

Here’s what he says about the current race:

Alaska might be the hardest race to forecast. The polling there is often erratic. The state has voted Republican for president every year since 1968, but its independent streak sometimes translates differently in other races. The Democratic incumbent, Mark Begich, might face an establishment candidate in Daniel S. Sullivan, the former attorney general, or Mead Treadwell, the lieutenant governor — or he could face Joe Miller, the former judge and tea party activist who is unpopular beyond the Republican base.

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


DNR Dan Sullivan’s primary election voting problem

21813094_mlOf the three candidates in the U.S. Senate Republican primary race so far, it looks like former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan is the candidate who can raise money. His first fundraiser brought in about $50,000, which was more than 25 percent of what his most heavily financed primary challenger, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, managed to raise in 90 days.

His opponents know this. Both Treadwell and incumbent Sen. Mark Begich are trying to stick him with the rap that he’s not a real Alaskan and that he’s using the state for his own personal political advancement.

His voting record, specifically that he missed voting in primary elections, will likely be used to further that rap.

While Sullivan has voted in every general since at least 2004, when public records are available, he has only voted in two of five primaries in those years. He skipped the 2004, 2006 and 2008 primary elections.

The Republican primary race in Alaska in 2004 was relatively uneventful. There was no governor’s race, and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the only member of the delegation to have a challenger, whom she beat handily. In 2006, however, the governor’s primary race was a three-way one, pitting challengers Sarah Palin and John Binkley against incumbent Frank Murkowski. (The rest of that story, as they say, is history.)

In 2008, Rep. Don Young only won the primary by about 300 votes against current Gov. Sean Parnell.

Joe Miller did not vote in the 2008 primary, but voted in all of the others since 2004. Neither Treadwell or Begich have missed an election.

Sullivan’s spokesperson Mike Anderson sent the following email in response to questions about his voting record:

Since coming to Alaska over 16 years ago, Dan has always voted in the state. While serving his country after 9/11, he stayed engaged in voting in Alaska while working as a National Security Council staff at the White House, then as a Marine Corps Infantry officer and finally as an Assistant Secretary of State. During that period, he did miss a few primary votes, but never missed a general election vote.

Sullivan moved to Alaska in 1997 after getting a Georgetown law degree to clerk for judges, including Chief Justice Warren Matthews. He was in private practice until 2002, when he moved to D.C. to head the International Economics Directorate of the National Economic Council and National Security Council under George W. Bush. He left the White House to become an assistant secretary of state.

In 2009, then Gov. Sarah Palin appointed him to become Alaska’s attorney general. Sullivan has also served in the Marine Corps since 1993, both on active duty and in the reserves. He was recently called to active duty to work on a counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Government shutdown: Treadwell aligns with Joe Miller and Sarah Palin

On her Facebook page, former Gov. Sarah Palin is making light of the potential for a government shutdown, a possibility that appears more and more possible by the hour. She posted a “funny” list of all the possible negative impacts of a shutdown. “If the government shuts down, who will, “block responsible resource development, spy on me, waste my money…” she posted. The list goes on. Sarah Palin has made millions since quitting her job as governor in 2010.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is running for the U.S. Senate, also appears to support a shutdown. He called those who were trying to do so “courageous,” and said that if he were a senator, he would “stand” with those who were advocating such a move. Joe Miller, the other candidate running in the Republican primary, also supports those who are advocating a shutdown.

Miller’s financial situation is hazy. Treadwell makes $135,000 as lieutenant governor. He makes as much as $200,000 a year in addition to his salary from investments and other income. In Anchorage, his assessed property values total more than $2 million.

In other words, both Treadwell and Palin can afford a government shutdown. They are doing fine and will continue to do so, regardless of whether the government stays open for business. Those who don’t have those resources that these two have will be the ones who are hurt: many of those “proud men and women” wearing our country’s uniform, the elderly, the disabled, those who are trying to build their retirement accounts. The stock market has already lost value in the last two days, and will likely continue to fall if the government shuts down. It will also likely push up interest rates.

Alaska’s congressional delegation, Sens. Mark Begich, Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, all are trying to avoid the shutdown and the mess that could result. Young for one, has lived through one and didn’t like the experience. Murkowski said a shutdown would put the government in “total disarray.”

Here’s just a few of some of the possible effects that it might have on Alaskans:

Unlike Joe Miller, Mead Treadwell is not known as a true believer. But he does appear to believe that advocating for those who are supporting a shutdown will peel off Miller supporters. He can afford to gamble on such a position, financially at least. It’s likely a stupid political move, however. Those thousands of Alaskans who are going to feel the effects are likely going to make him pay at the voting booth. And Miller’s people are nothing if not good at spotting panderers and apostates.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Sen. Begich, Koch brothers group in tussle over ads

time to fightSen. Mark Begich and a Koch brothers’ funded group are in a battle over whether or not a television ad falsely characterizes Begich’s position on a carbon tax.

The American Energy Alliance, the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research, both of which are funded partly by the Koch brothers, launched an ad recently in Alaska that says that Begich is in support of a carbon tax, something that the AEA is staunchly opposed to.

Begich says he doesn’t support the tax, and now lawyers are involved.

Begich’s lawyer called on station managers to take the ads down, calling them “false and misleading.”

“For the sake of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station must immediately cease airing this advertisement,” Begich’s lawyer wrote to the station managers on Sept. 5.

According to the AEA, the station mangers reviewed the ads and declined to remove them.

Begich has said publicly that he opposes a carbon tax. He did, however, vote on a non-binding amendment that said if such a tax were passed, revenue from it would be “returned to the American people in the form of federal deficit reduction, reduced federal tax rates, cost savings or other direct benefits.”

The vote would not have created or defeated a carbon tax, Begich’s lawyer wrote.

However, the AEA says his vote was a vote for the tax. Further, Begich voted against an amendment that would have required a vote of three fifths of the Senate to approve a carbon tax.

“That you felt the need to attempt to suppress the advertisements with threats and intimidation from your lawyers rather than publicly disclaim your past support for a carbon tax is telling,” said President of AEA Tom Pyle in a scathing press release.

“The American Energy Alliance would welcome a public apology to your constituents for your earlier votes in support of carbon taxes and your pledge that going forward your voting record will match your rhetoric on this vitally important issue for Alaska’s economic well-being,” Pyle wrote.

There’s more than a year to go before the 2014 election. Expect much more of this in the future.

Below is the AEA press release in full:

WASHINGTON — The American Energy Alliance responded today to a series of letters from a Washington D.C. law firm representing Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) who complains that a current advertisement sponsored by AEA “mischaracterizes” the senator’s past support for carbon tax legislation and threatens legal action for the continued airing of the ads. On Sept. 5, 2013, attorneys with Perkins Coie, LLP, notified station managers in Alaska that continued airing of AEA’s ad, entitled “Games,” could be cause for “loss of [the] station’s license.” Attorneys for the American Energy Alliance responded to the charges, and the Alaska stations were satisfied that the AEA advertisement did not run afoul of federal laws that prohibit “false, misleading or deceptive advertising.” All Alaska stations continue to run the AEA ad.

In his response letter, AEA President Thomas Pyle addressed two primary claims made by Senator Begich’s attorneys and campaign staff, namely that Begich has not supported a carbon tax and that AEA represents outside interests interfering in the state.

“That you felt the need to attempt to suppress the advertisements with threats and intimidation from your lawyers rather than publicly disclaim your past support for a carbon tax is telling,” Pyle wrote. “The American Energy Alliance will continue our current advertising initiative to inform Alaskans . . . of the impacts of harmful energy policies emanating from Washington and the role you play in shaping them. Moreover, we will seek additional opportunities in the future to do the same.”

Pyle took issue with Begich’s characterization of AEA as an “outsider group,” noting the senator’s willingness to host other “outsiders” who are opposed to economic development in Alaska — so long as those “outsiders” were raising money for the Begich re-election effort.

“Your campaign hosted a recent fundraiser in Fairbanks, charging guests as much as $120 per person to meet Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), [who was there] to help raise money for the Alaska Democratic Party and Alaska’s junior senator . . . Your willingness to invite an ‘outsider’ like Senator Cantwell to help swell your campaign coffers, all the while knowing of her well-documented history of championing legislative efforts to limit the development of Alaska’s vast natural resources and drive up the cost of energy for your constituents, exposes the height of hypocrisy that corrodes our system of representative democracy and always, eventually returns to haunt public officials.”

Pyle pressed further: “You certainly know your record, Senator. And you certainly know that elected officials are held to account more for their recorded votes than for their campaign rhetoric or the threatening missives and petty litigious needles threaded by their Washington-based lawyers. In any event, your record stands, and Alaskans are better informed citizens when organizations like the American Energy Alliance remind them of it.”

Pyle’s letter concludes: “The American Energy Alliance would welcome a public apology to your constituents for your earlier votes in support of carbon taxes and your pledge that going forward your voting record will match your rhetoric on this vitally important issue for Alaska’s economic well-being. Be assured that we will not be intimidated into backing away from our mission to foster an informed electorate of the voting records of their elected officials and call for engaged democratic participation in the American political tradition.”

To read Pyle’s full letter to Begich, click here.

To read the threatening letter from Begich lawyers to Alaska TV stations, click here.

To read the response letter from AEA attorneys, click here.

To view the AEA carbon tax ad currently running in Alaska, click here.

To read the fact sheet supporting the AEA ad, click here.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com