Dan Sullivan, the former state natural resources commissioner running for U.S. Senate, has announced his core campaign staff -- and highlighted that it was an "All Alaskan Team."
Sullivan has been criticized by Democrats and a fellow Republican candidate, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, for not being a longtime Alaskan, a side issue that Sullivan has called "silly at best."
His campaign provided information this week about his senior staff:
• Ben Mohr of Anchorage is campaign manager. He has worked the past six years for Pebble Limited Partnership, the group trying to develop an enormous gold and copper mine. He's a graduate of Alaska Pacific University and vice chairman of the Alaska Humanities Forum. He's also former chairman of Anchorage Young Republicans. He has lived in Alaska just over 10 years.
• Kathlene Rowell of Palmer followed Sullivan from the Department of Natural Resources, where she was a special assistant, the same post she'll hold with the campaign. She'll serve as an advisor and scheduler. She's been in Alaska since age 3. She graduated from Chugiak High and also is an APU graduate. She used to work for the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation.
• Robyn Engibous of Anchorage will serve as finance director, working on fundraising. She worked on the 2012 Romney campaign, the Sarah Palin political action committee SarahPac and the 2008 Republican National Convention. She is co-executive director of the Ted Stevens Foundation and used to work for the late U.S. senator as well as the U.S. Department of State. She's an Army brat whose family came to Alaska when she was 12. She another Chugiak High graduate and a graduate of Marquette University.
• Mike Anderson of Anchorage is Sullivan's communications director. His family moved to Alaska when he was 10 and he's a Dimond High graduate. He returned to the state this fall to work for Sullivan after stints in Washington, D.C., as press secretary for Rep. Don Young and before that, Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Anderson graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he played basketball from 2006 to 2009.
Sullivan, a native of Ohio, first came to Alaska in 1997 with his wife, an Alaska Native, and baby daughter to take a law clerk job in Fairbanks. He left in 2002 for a post in the Bush White House then returned in 2009 to become attorney general.
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By LISA DEMER