Nathaniel Herz

A string of polls in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race released this week all show Republican candidate Dan Sullivan leading his opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

Poll results have fluctuated over the course of the campaign, but the consistency of the recent results suggests Sullivan could be opening a lead, and a pair of respected national models now show him with a two-thirds chance of winning the election...

Nathaniel Herz

The owner of the Houston Texans football franchise is spending $500,000 on the U.S. Senate race in Alaska, in support of the Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

The franchise owner, Bob McNair , made the donation this month to a super PAC that supports Dan Sullivan, said Art Hackney, the Anchorage-based political consultant who runs the group.

McNair, who made his fortune in the energy industry, donates heavily to Republican causes. Kevin Cooper, the Texans' senior director of communications, said McNair believes strongly in “free enterprise” but does not comment on his political contributions...

Nathaniel Herz

The race in Alaska between incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and his Republican opponent, Dan Sullivan, has been a battleground for outside groups, which have spent millions of dollars seeking to influence national policy on hot-button issues from health care to environmental regulation.

But one area of the Alaska race that’s drawn minimal outside interest so far is gun control and Second Amendment rights.

The National Rifle Association announced last week it would be spending more than $11 million on elections this fall, and running TV ad campaigns backing Republicans in three key Senate races in Arkansas, Colorado, and North Carolina. More NRA ads are scheduled to boost Republicans in tight Senate races in four other states -- but not in Alaska...

Nathaniel Herz

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich pushed back Tuesday against Republican claims that a vote he made last week will allow President Barack Obama to make unilateral changes to national immigration policy after Election Day in November.

Ben Sparks, the campaign manager for Begich's opponent, Republican Dan Sullivan, emailed supporters the day after Thursday's vote to say that U.S. Senate Democrats, including Begich, had "blocked an amendment" to stop Obama from "singlehandedly granting amnesty to illegal immigrants."...

Nathaniel Herz

Both of Alaska’s candidates for U.S. Senate know that the country’s Social Security system needs reform -- its trustees say the system will start running short on money in about 20 years without a fix.

But Republican challenger Dan Sullivan and incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich differ sharply on how they’d solve the problem.

Begich has introduced legislation that would raise tax revenue for the system by removing a provision that exempts income above $115,000 from Social Security taxes. Getting rid of the $115,000 cap would keep the program solvent through 2085...

Nathaniel Herz

The family of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has given another $300,000 to an independent group supporting Sullivan’s campaign, after donating more than $350,000 in advance of the Aug. 19 Republican Party primary.

Sullivan’s parents, Sandra and Thomas Sullivan, each gave $150,000 on Aug. 29 to American Crossroads, a super PAC that supports Republicans and that has reserved $5.5 million in television commercials in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race.

Members of the Sullivan family had previously given $375,000 to Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, another super PAC backing Sullivan that’s run by Anchorage political consultant Art Hackney...

Nathaniel Herz

Ask the campaigns of incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and his Republican challenger, Dan Sullivan, if they work with the outside groups spending millions of dollars on TV ads on their race, and the answer is an emphatic “no.”

“There’s no coordination, obviously. There’s none,” said Mike Anderson, a spokesman for Sullivan...

Nathaniel Herz

Claim Check will regularly examine ads through the 2014 Alaska election season

• The ad: “Message” • Who’s running it: Sullivan for U.S. Senate • First aired: Sept. 12 • Spending: Campaign declines to say

A new TV ad from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan features his wife, Julie Fate Sullivan. In the 30-second commercial, she criticizes her husband’s opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, saying he is attacking Dan Sullivan for serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and as a White House fellow and an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of State under President George W. Bush...

Nathaniel Herz

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan says he will vote for a state initiative to increase Alaska’s minimum wage to $9.75 an hour by 2016, after saying before the Aug. 19 primary election that he was opposed to the change.

Sullivan told the Wall Street Journal in a story published Monday that he still opposed a proposal backed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat, to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour -- a measure that’s also backed by Sullivan’s opponent, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich.

A spokesman for Sullivan told the Journal that the candidate's position had changed because he "had a chance to read the minimum wage initiative."...

Nathaniel Herz

For the last several weeks in Anchorage, two dozen people have fanned out across the city each evening, armed with clipboards, sheaves of stamped envelopes, and brochures printed with cartoon salmon and pictures of a grinning Mark Begich, the incumbent Democratic U.S. senator who’s running for re-election.

They work for SalmonPAC , a group that says it will spend $1.1 million before Election Day on a grassroots campaign -- one that will see its paid canvassers knock on doors nearly 250,000 times by the time it’s over...

Nathaniel Herz