Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Truth Triumphs In Alaska as GOP Wins Another Senate Seat
According to data from the Associated Press, Dan Sullivan is the new senator from Alaska. He beat incumbent Mark Begich by almost 4 points, 49% to 43.5%.
This gives the GOP a total of 8 senate seats, and probably 9 come January when the Louisiana run off is completed. And Virginia, one of the biggest surprises of last night will probably go to recount, with only six tenths of a percentage point separating incumbent Democrat Mark Warner and GOP challenger Ed Gillespie. Unfortunately, I don't believe state law allows for a run off there, since a libertarian candidate funded by Democrats took 4% of the vote that would mostly have gone to Gillespie.
I admit to more than a casual interest in this race. Having spent some time in Alaska, I have a real affection for the state and its people. It truly is a unique and special place, where a person's character and willingness to work hard still count for a great deal.
That's why I was fairly certain that Mark Begich lost the race the day he ran a despicable ad blaming Sullivan for the murder of two seniors and the hideous rape of their granddaughter because Sullivan as attorney general supposedly okayed a plea bargain that gave the criminal a light sentence which allowed him to get out of jail early and murder and rape again.
This was a particularly egregious lie, since the original crime was tried in 2009 he was still serving in the Marines in Iraq and was not yet Attorney General. And the plea bargain itself only occurred because of a clerical error that took place before Sullivan became attorney general.
Even worse was what happened afterwards. The Sullivan campaign responded quickly to this malicious fiction, and even received support from Alaska's current attorney general Michael Geraghty who said bluntly that the ad had 'no basis in fact.'
“The State is actively prosecuting the person who has been charged with those crimes,” he said. “Drawing publicity to the case in a political ad, and highlighting the home where a family suffered such a horrific tragedy, is inappropriate and offensive.”
At that point, the attorney representing the family of the victims contacted both campaigns and asked them to take down the ads out of compassion for their suffering and to avoid poisoning the jury pool.
The Sullivan campaign took their ads down immediately. The Begich campaign continued to run theirs until they received an actual cease and desist letter from the attorney.
“The family directly and without question has told your campaign they want no part of this,” wrote the lawyer, Byron Collins. “You are tearing this family apart to the point that your ad was so shocking to them they now want to permanently leave the state as quickly as possible. Again, to be perfectly clear, it was your ad that shocked them.”
Begich was willing to exploit the pain of a traumatized rape victim and the pain of a suffering family as well as risk having a murderer and rapist go free because of the effect on potential jurors simply to try and keep his seat - a position he only acquired because of the bogus corruption accusations against GOP incumbent Ted Stevens that were later thrown out of court.
Begich never expressed any remorse whatsoever for doing what he did.
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid was willing to spend millions in Alaska, mostly coming from the Democrat PAC Alaska First to keep this creature in his seat, one reason this was even as close as it was. Begich was able to stick 16 field offices anchored in rural, hard-to-reach communities with a majority of Alaska natives, and rest assured that some walking around money was paid for turnout in these areas, a traditional source for Democrat votes in Alaska. Begich made a point of attacking Sullivan as 'not a real Alaskan' and 'out of touch with Alaska's native communities.'
Unfortunately for Begich, a lot of Alaskans respected Sullivan's record as former Alaska Department of Natural Resources commissioner which brought him into direct contact with various tribal associations. And he is married to Julie Fate Sullivan, an Alaska native who hails from a prominent Athabascan family and once worked Senator Ted Stevens,which made last night something of a vindication for the late Senator. She frequently appeared with Sullivan at campaign events.
Ultimately, most Alaskans decided that someone who epitomized what they regarded as Alaskan values was more of a real Alaskan than someone who merely happened to be born there.
Dan Sullivan will join other veterans of the Iraq War like Joni Ernst and Tom Cotton as strong voices for national defense and patriotism. Mark Begich will crawl back under the rock from which he emerged.