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Sullivan to Newsmax: National Security Critical Issue in Alaska Race

By    |   Friday, 31 October 2014 08:02 AM

Six years after Democrat Mark Begich won one of the closest — and most disputed — U.S. Senate races in the nation, and days before Alaskans decide whether he or Republican Dan Sullivan will be senator, national security is fast emerging as a key issue in their too-close-too-call bout.

The Senate race in the Land of the Midnight Sun is drawing special attention nationwide because it is considered one of the GOP's best possibilities anywhere of taking out a sitting Democratic senator.

A just-completed CBS/New York Times/YouGov poll showed Sullivan leading Begich 48 percent to 44 percent among likely voters statewide, and a recent Rasmussen Poll gave Sullivan a lead of 48 percent to 45 percent against Begich. (Not included in either poll is Libertarian nominee Mark Fish.)

"Alaskans feel strongly that events in the world are careening out of control and the Obama administration lacks any plan to deal with them," Sullivan, a former state attorney general and commissioner of natural resources, told Newsmax. "In fact, national security was front and center in our debate [Wednesday, Oct. 29] in Anchorage."

Sullivan spoke to Newsmax on Thursday a few hours before another debate with Begich. He recalled how in their Wednesday confrontation, he underscored his strong belief that President Obama "doesn't believe in American exceptionalism, speaks of 'leading from behind,' and clearly demonstrates weakness.

"And weakness is provocative, as we see in the rise of ISIS, in Russia attacking its neighbor Ukraine, and in a more aggressive China. By supporting Barack Obama and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid, my opponent is enabling these policies."

Citing his background as a former U.S. Marine lieutenant colonel and Assistant U.S. Secretary of State under Secretary Condoleezza Rice, the Republican nominee said he would "be ready from day one" to deal with issues such as these.

"I would support a broad-based strategy and clear mission to fight ISIS that includes not just military and diplomatic support but financial support as well," said Sullivan, noting that he led efforts in the State Department dealing with international finance, "and I would look at all kinds of options to help Ukraine remain free. Military assistance would depend on what kinds of weapons we're talking about."

Any discussion of the current Senate race almost always includes talk of the still-argued-about race of 2008. Six years ago, then-Anchorage Mayor Begich eked out a win against 40-year GOP incumbent Ted Stevens. Days before the balloting, Stevens was found guilty on corruption charges by a jury in the District of Columbia. The conviction was dropped not long after he left the Senate. (Stevens died in a plane crash in 2010).

"It was a miscarriage of justice," Sullivan said without hesitation, "and it also changed history. Without [Begich] in the Senate, Obamacare would not have become law. And he has also gone on to support Dodd-Frank and become a loyal foot soldier in favor of the complete centralized government agenda of Barack Obama and Harry Reid.

"Just imagine the last two years of the Obama administration with Democrats in the majority in the Senate and pushing for even more liberal legislation and confirmation of liberal federal judges — all with [Begich] there to rubber-stamp them."

Despite the polls almost universally showing Sullivan leading Begich, the presence of Libertarian candidate Mark Fish on the ballot has Republicans somewhat nervous in a state where "big-L" libertarians have historically performed well.

Rather than criticize Fish or the Libertarian Party, however, Sullivan simply points to his own record as attorney general in suing to stop implementation of Obamacare and in clashing with federal government agencies as commissioner of natural resources.

"My record is 'small-l' libertarian when it comes to less government and more freedom," he told Newsmax, "and I find it interesting that the Democratic nominee recently ran TV ads trying to align himself with libertarianism after five years of voting for an explosion of debt. Even Mark Fish came out and said he found the ads 'very disturbing.'"

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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Six years after Democrat Mark Begich won one of the closest U.S. Senate races in the nation and days before Alaskans decide whether he or Republican Dan Sullivan will be senator, national security is fast emerging as a key issue in their too-close-too-call bout.
begich, sullivan, alaska, senate, national, security
Friday, 31 October 2014 08:02 AM
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