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Nathaniel Herz

One of the few areas in which incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and his Republican challenger Dan Sullivan see eye to eye is their position on the more than $12 million spent this year by outside groups seeking to influence the outcome of their election.

Begich and Sullivan both decry all that money, not associated with the campaigns, which has flooded television and radio stations with thousands of negative advertisements , driven up prices and shut state candidates and local groups out of the market...

Nathaniel Herz

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich faced his Republican challenger, Dan Sullivan, for the first time Wednesday evening in a debate in Anchorage, with the two candidates drawing sharp distinctions between their visions of the state’s future and its path over the nearly six years since Begich was elected.

The contrast was stark, with Begich seeking voters’ support for another term in Washington, D.C., where he said he’d worked with other lawmakers to push forward pragmatic solutions to challenges like health care costs, the nation’s immigration crisis, and its slow economic recovery from the 2008 recession.

Begich’s attitude was perhaps best summarized by remarks in his closing statement...

Nathaniel Herz

Alaska makes a cameo appearance in a recording leaked Wednesday from a private strategy meeting in June hosted by the billionaire Koch brothers’ political network.

The recording, leaked to a liberal-leaning YouTube channel and first reported by The Nation magazine , drew national attention Wednesday based on comments from the Republicans’ U.S. Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, and three Republican Senate hopefuls.

In the recording, a pair of high-level operatives from two Koch-connected groups briefly discuss Alaska’s political climate, as well as the status of Sen. Mark Begich, who is running for re-election this year...

Nathaniel Herz

Amy Demboski, the first-term assemblywoman for Eagle River and Chugiak, said she would run for Anchorage mayor, joining a field that so far includes only attorney and former assemblyman Dan Coffey as a serious contender.

Demboski, 37, declared her candidacy with the Alaska Public Offices Commission late Tuesday and announced her decision in an emailed statement.

“It is important that the voters of Anchorage have a clear choice for mayor in 2015,” the statement said. “I will continue to be a stoic voice for the taxpayers, focusing on fiscal restraint, essential city services, accountability, and ethical leadership.”...

Nathaniel Herz

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and his newly minted Republican challenger Dan Sullivan square off Wednesday in their first debate, just eight days after Sullivan proclaimed victory in last week’s primary election.

The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Wendy Williamson Auditorium on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus, and it’s hosted by United for Liberty, a coalition of right-leaning groups whose vision statement says that current and future generations will have a higher quality of life “when we have replaced government overregulation with increased personal responsibility.”...

Nathaniel Herz

A new television ad running in Fairbanks attacks Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan for the support he’s drawn from an Outside group tied to the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers...

Nathaniel Herz

Joe Miller is wasting no time coming to the aid of the man who beat him in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate nomination in Alaska.

After incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich released an ad that includes a clip of Miller attacking Republican nominee Dan Sullivan in a debate, Miller’s campaign responded Friday with a press release calling the ad “completely disingenuous” and saying it should be pulled down...

Nathaniel Herz

New Jersey Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker will visit Anchorage next week for a series of community events and a fundraiser for the Alaska Democratic Party.

Booker, the former mayor of Newark who was elected to the Senate last year, will appear at the fundraiser on Tuesday, a party spokesman said.

He will also speak to the Alaska Black Leadership Conference at the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club, and plans a meeting with a group of ministers and a town hall meeting with students at Bartlett High School, according to the office of U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat who is running for re-election.

A spokesman for Begich’s campaign said the senator “likes to bring folks up and show them what Alaska’s actually like.”...

Nathaniel Herz

Tuesday’s U.S. Senate primary ballot for the Alaska Libertarian Party included two former party chairs, Mark Fish and Scott Kohlhaas. There was a third candidate, Thom Walker, a political unknown who works at a remote research station on the North Slope, and he didn’t raise any money or run a campaign.

Walker won the election anyway, grabbing 2,600 votes, compared to 1,600 for his two opponents combined. Shocked Libertarian Party officials are now scrambling to find him to see if he’ll appear at a scheduled debate next week -- and they speculate that Walker’s participation in the race may have been a ploy by Republicans to keep a more viable Libertarian candidate from siphoning votes away from the the GOP’s own nominee, Dan Sullivan...

Nathaniel Herz

A preliminary investigation indicates that a cyclist who was critically injured in a Midtown bicycle crash with an SUV on Thursday was attempting to cross Benson Boulevard when traffic had a green light, the Anchorage Police Department said Friday.

Willis Clayborn, 30, was left with critical injuries in a local hospital, police said.

Judy Ketchum, 65, was driving the SUV, police said. Police have not issued any charges or citations, though the department’s investigation has not concluded.

Police said Clayborn had been riding south on one-way A Street, against the flow of traffic, before the crash. The collision with the SUV occurred as he attempted to cross Benson Boulevard, where traffic had a green light, police said...

Nathaniel Herz