AFP Targets Begich Absenteeism in $1M Ad Buy

Americans for Prosperity announced today it has paid more than $1 million to run a TV ad attacking incumbent Mark Begich for missing votes in the U.S. Senate. The ad features Steve Perrins, a reality TV personality and owner of Rainy Pass Lodge.

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“Last year, Mark Begich missed more votes than 80 percent of all of the U.S. Senators. 80 percent of them!” says Perrins in the ad. “Why can’t Mark Begich show up, when it’s time to vote?”

The central fact cited in the ad is accurate. Last year, according to the GovTrack website, Begich failed to vote 12 times, putting him in the bottom 20 percent of the Senate for attendance.  That, though, was the best attendance record of the Alaska delegation to Congress. Begich missed 4 percent of the Senate votes last year. Sen. Lisa Murkowski missed 6 percent, and Congressman Don Young missed 13 percent of House votes.

So far this year, however, Begich has missed 34 votes. Murkowski has missed 16 and Young just nine.

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group founded by one of the billionaire Koch brothers, says the ad is set to run statewide for several weeks. AFP is also the group responsible for one of the earliest anti-Begich ads of the campaign, featuring a Maryland actress in a kitchen.

Senate rankings for missed votes

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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