U.S. Sen. Mark Begich said Friday he's not worried about the growing number of Republicans vying for the chance to take him on in November 2014.
"They've got a primary they've got to figure out," Begich said when asked Friday afternoon about the week's developments on the Republican side in the race. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell on Thursday launched his campaign in Anchorage, and natural resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, another possible candidate, turned in his resignation. Joe Miller, who won the primary race for Alaska's other Senate seat in 2010 only to lose to write-in Sen. Lisa Murkowski, is making another try, this time eyeing Begich's seat.
And there are other lesser-knowns. At a town hall meeting, a woman stood up saying said she was a Republican and was running against him. She was passionate, Begich said. He didn't know her name. So far, John Jaramillo and Kathleen Tonn have signed up with the state Division of Elections for the GOP primary. Candidates have until June 2, 2014.
"Joe Miller has more money than all of them right now," Begich said.
He said he has a lot of Alaska issues to work on. He held a field hearing Friday on climate change, then was headed to Houston to meet with local officials. On Saturday he was in Nome for a town hall meeting and more.
He knows national Republicans are working to unseat him.
"I've been in a lot of tough races. Bring it on. I was born and raised here," Begich said. "Those guys are visitors. Come on in, outsiders, and see how Alaskans treat ya."
Reach Lisa Demer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4390.