Senator Mark Begich was in Kodiak yesterday on a campaign tour. The Alaska democrat is seeking re-election this November and stopped by KMXT to talk about how the campaign is going. Overall, Begich said he feels good about the race, but acknowledged that it is a tough one.
“And I think it will be a close election, as you know the republican primary is going on now for the next two weeks and I think there’s a lot of angst going on over there. A lot of negative going on. I mean it’s amazing the mailers that I’ve now seen going back and forth, the radio commentary.”
He said he’s taken a few beatings from some of his opponents, which include Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller, but the heat has shifted a bit now that the primary election is underway.
“We’ll see who comes out of the primary. But there’ll be a Republican, there’ll be a Libertarian, there’ll be an Alaska Independence Party, there’ll be me, and there’ll be one or two others who have signed up for November. So it’s going to be a crowded, busy campaign. But we expect more beatings, more attacks, we hope they focus on the issues, and if they distort my record, we’ll push back.”
Begich chairs the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommitee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, and said that is a big position Alaska will lose if he isn’t re-elected.
“And you know this is maybe self-serving but chairing that committee, which covers Coast Guard and fisheries, is pretty important. And it covers the arctic too. And so when you think of these issues, if I’m not elected, the new member will never get this subcommittee because where they will fall in seniority is so far down the list they just can’t get it.”
Begich also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, along with Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski. Begich said having two members on the committee is a rare and important thing for Alaska. For the current session, Begich said he and Murkowski have voted together 85 percent of the time, and it’s because they look at what’s important to Alaska and don’t focus on party divisions.
“Over my six years we’ve voted 65 percent of the time together. That is more than any other split delegation, meaning Democrat and Republican, in any state in this country.”
While in town Begich also opened a new campaign office. In an email, his communications director, Max Croes, said the office will primarily serve as a place for volunteers to mobilize campaign efforts on the island.
Primary election day will be on August 19, but early and absentee in-person voting began on Monday. The general election will be on November 4 with early voting and in-person absentee, special needs and by-electronic transmission voting starting on October 20.