Alaska Politics blog: Senate race ad war is on

From Lisa Demer in Anchorage:

Dan Sullivan's first Web ad came out in late January. It has a slick, almost presidential feel, sweeping across professional highlights, showing him in his Marine fatigues and at the podium as part of the Bush State Department, a tough warrior who "pursued terrorists across the globe" and a serious attorney general going after Obamacare. It highlights Sullivan giving his campaign kickoff speech and talking about getting results.

And no wonder it strikes a presidential note. It includes an image of President Obama in the Oval office.

The ad sparked a bit of controversy for an image that was meant to illustrate how he protected the vulnerable. The photo of him marching in a "Choose Respect" rally prompted complaints from one of the women marching alongside him, Anchorage Assembly member Elvi Gray-Jackson, who hand-delivered a letter to the campaign demanding that her image be removed. She said she disagrees with his "anti-women and anti-choice stances." The campaign isn't budging. The march was to condemn domestic violence, campaign spokesman Mike Anderson said.

Now a new SuperPAC televison attack ad covers a different angle:

"Dan Sullivan, born and raised in Ohio and the recent owner of a million dollar Maryland home in this swanky, D.C. suburb," says the narrator, in that certain, chiding tone. "Documents show that while Sullivan pocketed a Maryland tax credit for residents living there, he was voting in Alaska, claiming to be one of us."

If he's elected, "he won't just go Washington. He'll go home to Washington," the ad says.

The 30-second piece is a product of the pro-Begich Put Alaska First SuperPAC being run by Anchorage political consultant Jim Lottsfeldt. The PAC raised $287,500 the last half of 2013 and from just a few sources. The Senate Majority PAC, which wants to keep Democrats in control, gave $170,000. Hillside Jetty Pelagic, a seafood marketing company in Kirkland, Wash., gave $100,000. Anchorage developer Jon Rubini gave $10,000. A California casino gave $7,500.

Sullivan's campaign immediately launched a radio ad titled "Love."

On it, Sullivan tells how "I moved to Alaska over 16 years ago, after meeting my wife, Julie Fate, who was working for Senator Ted Stevens. It was love at first sight with Julie, and our great state."

The campaign's Anderson says the radio ad was planned before the television ad hit. On Facebook, Sullivan says "Clearly, Mark Begich and his special interest, Washington allies fear our campaign and our message. Well, we're fighting back with a radio ad, but I need your help to keep it on the air."

Sullivan's residency in Alaska has been a hot-button for Democrats, the Begich campaign and GOP rival Mead Treadwell.

While Sullivan first came to Alaska in 1997, he moved away for seven years. But he often airbrushes out that part.

"During the time in question, Dan left Alaska to serve our country in the War on Terror in the White House, in the U.S. Marine Corps, and as a U.S. Assistant Secretary of State under Condoleezza Rice," Anderson said in an email. "On residency: Dan has been a resident of Alaska since 1997. End of story."

Find Lisa Demer at 257-4390, and on Twitter, @lisa_demer.