US Senate race roundup: Pro-Sullivan group gets $300K from family; musher endorses Treadwell

Nathaniel Herz

The family of U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has given $300,000 to an independent super PAC that supports him, according to federal campaign finance records released last week.

The donations, made in July, include $200,000 jointly from Sullivan’s father, Thomas, and his mother, Sandra, and another $100,000 from Sullivan’s brother, Frank Sullivan.

Frank Sullivan is the CEO of RPM International, an industrial products company in Ohio; Thomas Sullivan is the former CEO of the company. The Sullivan family had previously donated $75,000 to the super PAC, named "Alaska's Energy / America's Values."

Sullivan is running in the Aug. 19 Republican primary against Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller to see who will face incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich in November.

The strategist behind the super PAC, Art Hackney, said that most of the money had already been spent on a television commercial and on ads on the side of Anchorage's People Mover buses.

Begich’s campaign Wednesday issued a press release calling the donations from Sullivan’s family a “$300,000 Hail Mary.”

The release included an animated photo of football star Johnny Manziel wearing a Cleveland Browns team cap and flashing his trademark money sign at the National Football League’s draft.

Frank Sullivan did not respond to phone messages. A spokesman for Dan Sullivan’s campaign responded with a dig at the super PAC supporting Begich, which has received most of its money from another super PAC with ties to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“If Mark Begich defines this donation as a ‘Hail Mary,’ what does he call the nearly $5 million cash infusion his super PAC has received from Harry Reid?” the spokesman, Mike Anderson, said in an email.

 

Treadwell snares Buser endorsement

Treadwell’s campaign, meanwhile, released a video endorsement Wednesday from a different kind of sports star: four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser.

Buser, wearing a green T-shirt and holding a puppy outside his Happy Trails Kennel, tells viewers in a 30-second video that “in 31 Iditarods, I’ve learned to pick a good lead dog.”

“And I encourage you to vote for our good friend Mead Treadwell,” Buser says, as the video cuts to a shot of frolicking puppy dogs, one of which curls up inside a metal bowl. “Please vote Aug. 19: Mead Treadwell, our future leader in the Senate.”

Buser didn’t respond to a phone message Wednesday.

He was featured in a commercial for then-gubernatorial candidate Sarah Palin in 2006, again holding a puppy and saying that attack ads had “no place in a fair race.”

Buser’s most recent Iditarod victory was 2002. The reigning champion, Dallas Seavey, said in a phone interview Wednesday that he had been in the Alaska wilderness for most of the summer and had “a little bit of homework to catch up on” before he could make an endorsement.

“Certainly, before November, when crunch time rolls around, I'll be primed and ready to make an educated position on that,” Seavey said. “It’s in the process, but I literally just got home.”