Alaska’s Begich’s Super-PAC Help: A Man of the Salmon

Sen. Mark Begich is getting help from another super-political action committee as the Alaska Democrat campaigns for a second term.

Alaska SalmonPAC plans to spend $1.1 million to send mail pieces to 100,000 households and for staff and volunteers to knock on 231,000 doors to promote Begich’s record. The PAC describes Begich as a “salmon champion” who’s worked to protect Alaska’s fishing interests against the economic risks of gene-altered salmon, sometimes dubbed “frankenfish.”

The idea is to boost turnout in a midterm election year that will typically feature lower voter turnout than when Begich ran in 2008, a presidential election year.

“This effort will focus on getting nearly every likely Begich supporter who voted in the 2012 presidential election, but did not vote last midterm election, to vote by mail or in person in the 2014 election this fall,” according to a release from the super-PAC, which filed papers with the Federal Election Commission that were processed on June 2.

The PAC’s treasurer is Andy Moderow, the political director of Alaska Conservation Voters and the data director of the Alaska Center for the Environment. Alaska Conservation Voters ran two ads earlier in the 2014 campaign cycle promoting Begich, including one that said he “led the fight against genetically modified salmon and other threats to our fishing industry.”

Those ads and the creation of Alaska SalmonPAC call attention to how Democrats are working to re-elect Begich by emphasizing his Alaska roots and attention to state-specific issues, downplaying alliances with President Barack Obama and the national Democratic Party, and targeting the leading Republican in the race, former state attorney General Dan Sullivan.

Begich, Sullivan and 14 groups paid for ads that ran 19,445 times on Alaska broadcast stations through June 2, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising. Begich has run six ads that ran 6,065 times. The pro-Begich super-PAC Put Alaska First PAC has paid for eight ads that ran 3,820 times. Put Alaska First PAC is funded mostly by another super-PAC, Senate Majority PAC, that’s run by political advisers to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Alaska’s Aug. 19 Republican primary also includes Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller, a lawyer who unseated Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a 2010 primary before Murkowski was re-elected as a write-in candidate. Sullivan’s supporters span the Republican-leaning ideological spectrum to include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the super-PAC American Crossroads and the Club for Growth.


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