Begich’s ‘Outsider’ Hypocrisy

by Andrew Johnson
Alaska Democrat takes D.C. money but says his challenger isn’t “one of us.”

A super PAC backing vulnerable Democratic Alaska senator Mark Begich is targeting his Republican challenger’s out-of-state ties, even though more than 80 percent of the pro-Begich group’s funding comes from Washington-based Senate Majority PAC.

The Huffington Post reports that since Put Alaska First’s founding less than a year ago it has received $645,000 from the Harry Reid–associated PAC, which accounts for approximately 82 percent of its total funding. Most of that money has gone to a Democratic consulting firm devoted to aiding PACs.

A Washington State–based fishing company and California casino have given $100,000 and $32,500, respectively, to Put Alaska First.

The findings come after the Put Alaska First PAC launched a series of ads questioning the Last Frontier bona fides of one of Begich’s Republican opponents and trying to portray him as an outsider.

In one of the ads, Put Alaska First knocks candidate Dan Sullivan for “claiming to be one of us.” Sullivan was born in Ohio and owns a home in Maryland; he spent time in the Washington area when he worked as a member of the George W. Bush White House and State Department.

Sullivan previously served as commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources as well as the state’s attorney general.

Sullivan is currently leading in the Republican primary polls for the nomination. And a recent March Rasmussen survey found him tied with Begich at 44 percent.

In an effort to boost his in-state credentials, Begich has also joined Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid in attacking David and Charles Koch, even though his Great Land PAC received $5,000 from the brothers in the past.

In his first campaign ad last month, Begich opened fire on the Koch-supported group Americans for Prosperity. Yet when called on by the Republican National Committee to return $5,000 he received from the Kochs in 2010, Begich declined.

Begich’s efforts to highlight his Alaskan roots come after he came under fire for skipping a key vote to extend unemployment benefits to speak to airport executives at a lobbying event in Hawaii. While in the Aloha State, Begich reportedly attended two fundraisers.

— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.

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