ALERT LINE

RealClearDefense – Defense Elections

WHY IT MATTERS

With the Senate hanging in the balance, a vulnerable Democratic incumbent and Senate appropriator defends his seat by touting his legislative record on Air Force basing, Arctic policy, veterans’ issues, and surveillance.

THE RACE

Mark Begich came to Senate in deep-red Alaska by beating a scandal-ridden incumbent by less than a percentage point. It’s no surprise that he started out 2014 as one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents. But he has run a smart campaign, aligning himself with moderate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and emphasizing local issues. Meanwhile Republican nominee Dan Sullivan slogged through a tough primary and suffered some gaffes. Early polls show Begich up, but Alaska polling is notoriously inaccurate. We likely won’t have a good indication who will win this race until the morning after Election Day.

THE CANDIDATES

Mark Begich (D)

Begich is a former mayor of Anchorage who took down Senator Ted Stevens in 2008. He is the son of a former Alaska congressman, and one of two senators without a college degree. Begich has voted in line with Democrats in the Senate, though he has staked out centrist positions on issues such as energy regulations. Though he has never received a roll-call vote on one of his amendments in the Senate, Begich has touted behind-the-scenes work, like advocating for F-35s to be based at Eielson Air Force Base.

Dan Sullivan (R)

Sullivan is currently Alaska’s attorney general. Previously, he worked in the Bush administration as a director on the National Economic Council and National Security Council staffs. He later served as an Assistant Secretary of State from 2006-2009. Sullivan is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves.

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