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Alaska Voters Pick Former Attorney General to Face Begich

There had been some morning-after talk in Alaska that Miler’s refusal to concede could hurt the sense of Republican unity and Miller’s surprising finish in the primary might make him reconsider his promise not to go rogue.

But those concerns were unfounded. The GOP is united as it goes into the general election against Begich.

Murkowski drew her line in the sand a week before the primary by blasting Begich for running an ad that showed the pair of senators smiling together, giving the impression that they were a team working together for Alaska.

Murkowski’s campaign was so upset by the Begich ad that her people got a cease-and-desist order in an effort to get the Democrat’s team to pull the ad. They did not.

Murkowski consistently accused Begich of working hand-in-hand with the Obama administration and has pointed out to Alaska voters that if the GOP wins control of the Senate she could get the chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Given the importance of oil and natural gas to Alaska’s economy, that would be a very important assignment.

However, the Murkowski endorsement could hold more sway with independents and Democrats than Republicans. This could be critical in November. A Public Policy Polling survey released Aug. 12 showed Murkowski is much more popular with Democrats than she is with Republicans. Her approval splits are 58/24 with Democrats, 45/33 with independents, and 37/48 with Republicans.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, made it very clear on primary night that the GOP will do its best to tie Begich to the hip of President Obama in the general election campaign.

“Even though Senator Begich has failed to pass even a single amendment during his five years in Washington, he has voted for the Obama agenda a staggering 97 percent of the time -- including costly energy taxes, spending increases, and of course, ObamaCare,” Moran said in a statement.

Being allied with Obama probably won’t help many Democrats come November 2014. It will certainly hurt Begich.

Alaska is a red-hot Republican state. Obama has never done well here. Even in his 2008 victory over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama lost Alaska by more than 21 points. Obama did better against Mitt Romney in 2012 but still lost by 14 points.

The Begich campaign’s best attack strategy against Sullivan might be highlighting the fact that the state’s former attorney general is from Ohio. That would make him an Outsider.

Sullivan was born and raised in Ohio. He moved to Alaska in 1997 but spent much of the next decade living in Maryland while he worked in the Bush administration.

It may not seem like much of an issue to those in the 48 contiguous states, but this is such a potentially deadly problem for Sullivan that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice played defense for him in the American Crossoads commercial, “Tireless,” in March assuring voters that Sullivan was all about Alaska.