Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is so upset with her Senate colleague Mark Begich (D-Alaska) that her attorneys are trying to force him to pull an ad in which she and the Democrat seem to be getting along and actually working together.
Three other Republicans in Alaska hope that’s the least of the problems Begich will face in the ides of August.
And they are having a fine time fighting with each other over who could cause Begich the most heartache come November.
GOP Senate primary candidates Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell are battling over which of them would be able to beat incumbent Begich and are taking shots at each other in the final week of their primary campaigns.
Joe Miller, the third candidate in Alaska’s GOP Senate primary, is busy making the case that he is the true conservative in the field.
A Public Policy Polling survey of Alaska voters released Aug. 7 shows Sullivan leading Treadwell by 6 points, 35-29. Miller is still running in last place, but he is doing better than ever with 20 percent of the vote.
Treadwell and Sullivan are focusing their campaign attacks in the last days before the Aug. 19 primary on who has the best shot at defeating Begich in November.
Bad news for that strategy: PPP shows Begich would beat Sullivan 45-41 percent and the Alaska incumbent would defeat Treadwell 44-41. The Real Clear Politics aggregate of surveys shows basically the same thing. It’s just a matter of margin.
But why let the facts cloud the issue?
Sullivan started running a TV and internet ad Aug. 4 that proclaimed he is the “only conservative who could beat Mark Begich,” which is why the ad argues “Begich and his liberal allies have already spent $4 million falsely attacking Dan Sullivan.”
Bank accounts are not all that matters. Campaign infrastructure is a necessity. That’s another reason Sullivan says the liberals are afraid of him. The ad claims his campaign is the only one with the resources to beat Begich.
Treadwell said the July 28 CBS News/NY Times poll that showed he trailed Begich by only 2 points, while Begich would beat Sullivan by 12 points, is proof that he, Treadwell, is the candidate who should be nominated by the Alaska GOP in November.
“We are pleased by this report because it confirms what we are seeing on the ground. Our conservative agenda and proven record resonate with Alaskans,” said Treadwell in a statement.
“This new nationally-recognized poll and the recent attacks we’ve seen from Mark Begich and his liberal allies show we’re surging and that we’re best positioned to make Begich a one-term senator,” Treadwell added.
He also told the Wall Street Journal that Sullivan never should have entered the race because he just isn’t ready for the primetime spotlight of being one of the most powerful people in Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, Miller announced Aug. 8 that Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, widely known for his tough stance on immigration law, has endorsed his Senate campaign.
“Joe Miller is a true constitutional conservative with a vision to protect our borders and restore America,” said Arpaio. “He is the only GOP candidate in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race who is 100% against amnesty and who will boldly confront the lawlessness of the Obama administration.”
Miller has called on Sullivan and Treadwell to join him in demanding the impeachment of President Obama. Neither has.
Miller has also released his own conservative scorecard he said proves who is the real conservative in the Alaska Senate primary.
Outside groups are also getting into it. Alaska Dispatch News reports the Washington, D.C.-based group that Karl Rove started has launched a $130,000 radio ad campaign taking shots at Begich and supporting Sullivan.
Even a group supporting Begich, Put Alaska First, is getting involved in the GOP primary advertising blitz. ADN reports the super PAC started a new website Aug. 7, OutsiderDan.com. It too attacks Sullivan, labeling him as an Outsider, or one not native to Alaska, a word so important in the Alaskan culture that it is always capitalized.
And then there is the battle between Begich and Murkowski.
Murkowski’s legal team sent a cease-and-desist order to the Begich camp Aug. 7 demanding that they stop running the ad “Great Team,” which includes a photo of Begich and Murkowski sitting together.
As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Murkowski office, the ad also claims that the two of them vote the same way 80 percent of the time.
The cease-and-desist order argues the ad has the facts wrong, it was produced and aired without her permission, and “finally, the advertisement prominently features a photograph taken in Senator Murkowski’s official U.S. Senate office, an apparent violation of federal law and Senate rules.”
Begich told NBC News his campaign team purchased the photo from the Associated Press and that makes its use legal.
It would seem that if one “team member” disputes so much of an ad entitled “Great Team,” there might be something wrong if not with the facts, then at least with the concept.
But that is not the way the Begich camp sees it. They refused to pull the ad off the air Aug. 8.
Begich told NBC, “I think it is very factual.”