Begich Says ‘Bring it on’

Sen. Mark Begich faced no serious challenger in Tuesday’s election, so he’s been out of the campaign spotlight in recent weeks. He told supporters at a luncheon in Anchorage that Sullivan and the rest of the Republican field pulled to a conservative extreme in the pre-Primary debates.

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“They have gone so far right, you can’t even describe what right is anymore,” Begich said.

Sullivan has said he wants abortion to be illegal, except in cases of rape or incest, or to save the mother’s life. He supports laws barring same-sex marriage and says the Supreme Court made the right call in the Hobby Lobby case, which allows certain employers to refuse insurance coverage for IUDs and other birth control methods they object to. Begich takes the opposite positions.

“You all know me. I’ve been pro-choice from day 1,” Begich told about 170 people at the fundraising event. “It is the women’s choice to make the choice about their healthcare. And we don’t need government telling you what to do with your bodies. And we don’t need Dan Sullivan to tell you what to do with your bodies.”

Begich has been under attack for allegedly taking undue credit for achievements of the entire Alaska delegation to Congress, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski demanded he take down an ad saying they work well as a team. Begich, though, listed what he says are his successes, such as building the military presence in Alaska, fully funding tribal healthcare contracts, opening the Arctic to offshore oil drilling, and expanding healthcare options for Alaska veterans.

“I’m proud of these accomplishments. I know my opponents are already churning up, ready to say, ‘We’re going to after Begich’s accomplishments,’” Begich said. “You bet. Bring it on. Bring it on. I’ll talk to you until you’re blue in the face about everything I’ve done to make Alaska a better place.”

The candidates and independent political groups have already spent more than $18 million on the race. For the primary, that comes out to about $115 per voter.

Dan Sullivan wasn’t available for an interview today. He didn’t talk to reporters on election night and had no public appearances today. His spokesman said Sullivan granted two print interviews but needed to rest his voice, which laryngitis has reduced to a whisper.

 

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska’s congressional delegation, federal agency decisions that shape life in the 49th state, money in politics and elections. She has deep roots in Alaska and this is her third stint in Washington, a city she has grown to love.

She was born in Anchorage and is a West High graduate. She studied political science at the University of Washington and has an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia. During graduate school, she moved to Washington to intern as a D.C. correspondent. But for her first real journalism job, she moved back to Alaska to work at the Homer News. She was there for three years before taking a job at the Anchorage Daily News. Over the course of nine years in Anchorage, she covered City Hall, courts, state politics, and Native and rural affairs.

Then, in April 2001, she moved back to Washington to work in McClatchy Newspaper’s D.C. bureau as a correspondent for the Anchorage paper. She stayed in the position for five years.

She took a year off for a journalism fellowship at the University of Colorado in Boulder, then freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio.

When a vacancy occurred in APRN’s one-person Washington bureau, she jumped at the opportunity. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013.

lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz