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GOP voters pick Sullivan to take on Begich in fall race for U.S. Senate seat

Nathaniel Herz
TJ Presley and other supporters of Ballot Measure 1 cheer as their spokesman talks to the media at election central at the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
US Senator Lisa Murkowski, center talks with Willis Lyford and John Shively at the Vote No on 1 party on election night at the Captain Cook Hotel in downtown Anchorage on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Mead Treadwell prepares to gave his speech congratulating Dan Sullivan at Election Center Tuesday night, August 19, 2014.
Richard Mauer / Alaska Dispatch News
Dan Sullivan Republican candidate for the US Senate is optimistic and crosses his fingers as early results come in at his election night party at the Fat Ptarmigan downtown Anchorage on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Lt Governor Mead Treadwell hugs his girl friend Lisa Nelson after talking to the media about his run for the US Senate at election central at the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Gov. Sean Parnell is interviewed with Anchorage Mayor and Lt. Gov. candidate Dan Sullivan at election central in the Egan Center after the primary election on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News
Governor candidate Bill Walker, right, is interviewed by Steve Heimel at election central in the Egan Center after the primary election on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News
Sullivan for U.S. Senate supporters gather at election central in the Egan Center after the primary election on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News
Press secretary Sharon Leighow, center and other Gov. Parnell supporters leave election central in the Egan Center after the primary election on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News
Canvassers for U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan stand on the corner of Benson Boulevard and Minnesota Drive on Tuesday morning. Across the street, Sen. Mark Begich supporters wave signs.
Laurel Andrews / Alaska Dispatch News
U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller speaks with supporters after the polls closed on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News
Vote Yes supporters walk along 9th Ave in downtown Anchorage on their way to election central on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News
Young Republicans Samuel Avery Moore and Meredyth Richards talk at the Vote No on 1 party on election night at the Captain Cook Hotel in downtown Anchorage on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Forrest Dunbar volunteer John Crone (left), Forrest Dunbar and self-styled political junkie from Kodiak Alaska Jeff Stephan look at early election results at election central at the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage on Tuesday, August 19, 2014. Dunbar is running the US House of representing Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Nick Moe, a volunteer coordinator of Yes on One, reacts to the first election results while attending a party in the home of Robert Gottstein after the polls closed during the primary election on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News
Donna Walker looks on as her husband Bill Walker talks to KOAN/KVNT radio at election central at the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage on Tuesday, August 19, 2014. Bill Walker is running for Governor of Alaska as an independent.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Republicans Kyle Kohli and Lori Harrington walk down 5th Avenue after getting a less then warm reception at the Begich election night party at Fat Ptarmigan in downtown Anchorage on Tuesday, August 19, 2014. The pair were not invited in and asked to stand out by the curb.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Will Kimball with the help of his son Murphy Kimball and Domingo Bacarisas cast their ballots as voters participate in the Primary election at Turnagain Elementary School library on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Will Kimball accompanied by his son Murphy Kimbell picks up his ballot as voters cast their ballots in the Primary election at Turnagain Elementary School library on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Ben Robar drives off in his 1929 Model A after casting his vote Tuesday morning. Voters on Anchorage's west side cast ballots at Filipino Bible Church on Raspberry Road on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News
A sheet encourages passersby to vote yes on the oil tax referendum as it hangs above West Northern Lights Boulevard on Tuesday morning, August 19, 2014, in west Anchorage.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Voters encounter the United Way of Anchorage Chalk the Walks event held midday Tuesday, August 19, 2014, at Airport Heights Elementary School. Volunteers spent an hour creating positive messages for students returning to classrooms at Lake Otis Elementary School, College Gate Elementary School and Wendler Middle School as well.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Voters encounter the United Way of Anchorage Chalk the Walks event held midday Tuesday, August 19, 2014, at Airport Heights Elementary School. Volunteers spent an hour creating positive messages for students returning to classrooms at Lake Otis Elementary School, College Gate Elementary School and Wendler Middle School as well.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
While Vic Pearce casts a vote, his two-year-old grandson, Kayden, peeks out of the curtain. Voters on Anchorage's west side cast ballots at Filipino Bible Church on Raspberry Road on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News
Supporters of incumbent Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Begich wave at traffic Tuesday morning, August 19, 2014, along Minnesota Drive at Benson Boulevard.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Brad Snowden campaigns along the Seward Highway Tuesday evening, August 19, 2014.
Michelle Theriault / Alaska Dispatch News
Ruth Pfister hands out ballots to voters Tuesday morning. Voters on Anchorage's west side cast ballots at Filipino Bible Church on Raspberry Road on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News
Vic Kohring, a former state legislator who plead guilty to a federal corruption charge in 2011, is running for U.S. Senate in the Alaskan Independence Party primary. He stood alone next to a sign bearing his name on the corner of Benson Boulevard and Seward Highway on Tuesday morning amid canvassers for Joe Miller, Mead Treadwell and Vote No on 1.
Laurel Andrews / Alaska Dispatch News
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan and his wife Julie, left, cross the street to greet Republican State House District 21 candidate Matt Fagnani, right, and supporter Violet Tui, 9, on Tuesday morning, August 19, 2014, along Minnesota Drive at Benson Boulevard.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Voters wait in line at their polling place at Steese West in Fairbanks, August 19, 2014.
Dermot Cole / Alaska Dispatch News
Ulric Ulroan of Chevak spoke after voting at the cultural center in Bethel Tuesday, August 19, 2014. He said he was torn about which way to go on Senate Bill 21. He ultimately didn't vote on the oil tax measure.
Lisa Demer / Alaska Dispatch News
Elder Catherine Peters leaves Bethel’s Yup’ik museum and cultural center -- the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center -- Tuesday, August 19, 2014 on the arm of senior-bus driver Ralph Pavilla after voting “yes” to repeal Senate Bill 21.
Lisa Demer / Alaska Dispatch News
Joe Miller and supporters wave signs on the corner of Tudor Road and C Street on election day, August 19, 2014.
Laurel Andrews / Alaska Dispatch News
Republican State House District 21 candidate Matt Fagnani and daughter Madison check out sample ballots before voting Tuesday morning, August 19, 2014, at Turnagain United Methodist Church. It was the first time Madison, 18, has been eligible to vote, so dad was gratified her milestone election featured his name on the ballot.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Regina Ward stands among other canvassers urging morning commuters to vote against Ballot Measure 1, a controversial bid to repeal the state's current oil tax system, campaigned at the corner of Benson Boulevard and the Seward Highway early on Election Day, Tuesday, August 19.
Laurel Andrews / Alaska Dispatch News
U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan gives a thumbs up to a passing car at the corner of Benson Boulevard and Minnesota Drive on Tuesday morning.
Laurel Andrews / Alaska Dispatch News
Joe Miller supporter Amy Walker waves to the camera on Tuesday morning. Across the street, canvassers for Mead Treadwell wave signs.
Laurel Andrews / Alaska Dispatch News
Treadwell supporter Mike Flanigan waves a sign amid the Vote No on 1 canvassers at the corner of Benson Boulevard and the Seward Highway Tuesday morning.
Laurel Andrews / Alaska Dispatch News
Intern for Sen. Mark Begich, Suzanne Snyder, waves a sign for Begich on Tuesday morning at the corner of Benson Boulevard and the Seward Highway.
Laurel Andrews / Alaska Dispatch News

Alaska voters Tuesday selected former state attorney general and Natural Resources commissioner Dan Sullivan as the Republican nominee in this fall’s U.S. Senate race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Begich.

With 98.6 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday morning, Sullivan led by more than 7,000 votes over his nearest challenger, tea party favorite Joe Miller, with Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell down by more than 13,000 votes. Sullivan’s support equated to 40 percent of the vote, while Miller had 32 percent and Treadwell had 25 percent.

At least 14,581 votes remain to be counted in the election, Division of Elections Director Fenumiai said. 

Sullivan did not speak Tuesday night; his campaign said he was waiting for a national media outlet to call the race. Shortly after 1:30 a.m., his campaign released a statement declaring victory and quoting Sullivan as saying: “Our success was about Alaskans coming together to decide the direction we take our state.”

Treadwell conceded late Tuesday, and Miller’s campaign issued its own statement early Wednesday morning congratulating Sullivan.

By 8 a.m. Wednesday, two of the independent groups that supported Begich and Sullivan during the primary campaign had already released new negative television ads targeting their opponents.

Washington, D.C.-based Crossroads G.P.S., a Republican group co-founded by Karl Rove, is attacking Begich for what it says is a pay differential between his male and female staff members in a commercial starting on television Wednesday.

Anchorage-based Put Alaska First, a pro-Begich group that’s raised the vast majority of its money from a Washington, D.C., political committee tied to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has its own commercial starting Thursday that attacks Sullivan for his support for the Pebble Mine project in southwest Alaska.

The commercial was released on YouTube on Wednesday.

Begich officially kicks off his general election campaign with a speech at a downtown Anchorage hotel at noon Wednesday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.