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After noisy U.S. Senate campaign, both candidates go quiet with votes still uncounted

  • Author: Nathaniel Herz
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published November 6, 2014

During their campaign for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Mark Begich and Republican challenger Dan Sullivan were all over the state.

But since the last votes were counted early Wednesday morning -- and with tens of thousands of absentee and other outstanding votes still set to be counted starting next week -- both candidates have gone quiet.

Begich, who's trailing by 8,000 votes with most people estimating no more than 50,000 ballots outstanding, was spending Wednesday with his family and didn't give interviews.

Asked Thursday morning if Begich would be available for an interview, a campaign spokesman responded in an email: "Nope."

Sullivan, meanwhile, was headed to training with the Marine Corps Reserve on Thursday, and was also unavailable for an interview, campaign manager Ben Sparks said.

Neither candidate has addressed reporters since Election Day counting wrapped up early Wednesday morning. Sullivan gave a celebratory speech at his campaign party late on election night, while Begich left his party without speaking to media.

Both have since sent emails thanking their supporters. In an message Thursday morning, Begich stressed that "there are still tens of thousands of ballots yet to be counted."

"The vote totals probably won't be known for a while," Begich's message said. "But we ran this campaign for all Alaskans, and we're going to make sure that all votes legally cast by Alaskans are counted."

Sullivan, meanwhile, emailed his supporters Wednesday, saying in his message that "now, the real work begins."

"We're going to get our country back on track and empower Alaskan families and communities to decide their own destiny," the message said.

In an emailed statement to media Thursday morning, Sullivan's campaign linked to press clippings detailing what it called Begich's "impossible math," and added that Begich is "clinging to votes that don't exist."

Sullivan's campaign has pressed news outlets to call the race, while in an interview Wednesday, Tom Begich, the incumbent senator's brother, accused Sullivan of trying to "bully his way into a concession."

"We're going to wait until those votes are counted," Tom Begich said.

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