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Liz Ruskin, APRN

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

With Persistent Lead, Sullivan Heads to Washington

With more votes counted in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race, Republican Dan Sullivan still leads Democrat Mark Begich by about 8,000 votes. While Begich hasn’t conceded, the former attorney general seem to be claiming his victory. A spokesman says he’s flying to Washington today.

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November 12, 2014

Lawsuit Claims Chukchi Rules Fail to Protect Walrus

A coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit today against the Fish and Wildlife Service, saying its rule allowing the oil industry to disturb or harm Pacific walrus in the Chukchi Sea violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

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November 10, 2014
Sullivan Leads Begich by 8,000 votes

Sullivan Leads Begich by 8,000 votes

Alaska appears to have followed the national trend and elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate. But Democratic Sen. Mark Begich isn’t conceding just yet.

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November 5, 2014
Knowns and Unknowns Among Uncounted Ballots

Knowns and Unknowns Among Uncounted Ballots

With a few candidates up and down the ballot unsure whether they won or lost, a lot of Alaskans are looking to the thousands of ballots that remain uncounted. Division of Elections chief Gail Fenumiai says it’s unclear exactly how many ballots are outstanding.

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November 5, 2014
Begich, Sullivan Rally Voters, Each His Own Way

Begich, Sullivan Rally Voters, Each His Own Way

In the final days before the U.S. Senate election, candidates Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan are making their final pitches, aiming to rally their supporters to the polls. Sullivan got help from two national figures representing polar opposites of the GOP: Mitt Romney, an establishment Republican, and Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party hero.

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November 3, 2014

Letter Shaming Alaska Voters Cribbed From Study Proving Its Value

Letters from an unknown group calling itself the Alaska State Voter Project are appearing in Alaska mailboxes. They list the voting history of the addressee – along with that of other community members. Many recipients are outraged, saying the letters are an attempt to shame them into voting. A political scientist says the letters are nearly identical to ones he used in a 2006 experiment.

October 28, 2014

Massive Ground Game Underway in Senate Race

Between the candidate campaigns and Outside groups, nearly $52 million has been spent to try to influence your vote in the U.S. Senate race. Much of that is spent on advertising, for Sen. Mark Begich or Republican challenger Dan Sullivan. But in the end, every race is decided by who actually turns out to vote, so there’s a ground game underway.

October 27, 2014

Young Apologizes for Suicide Remarks; Is Warmly Received at AFN

Alaska Congressman Don Young angered many of his constituents this week with remarks about suicide at Wasilla High that he later acknowledged were insensitive. Today, he used his annual speech at the Alaska Federation of Natives to apologize.

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October 24, 2014

U.S. Senate Candidates Spar Over Resource Development

U.S. Senate candidates Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan sparred Thursday over who can better move Washington to bring more resource development to Alaska. The Anchorage debate was sponsored by the Resource Development Council and associations representing the state’s oil and gas, mining and logging industries.

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October 23, 2014

Alaska Public Media, ADN Reach Agreement With State Over Public Records Request

Alaska Public Media and the Alaska Dispatch News have reached an agreement with the state of Alaska in their lawsuit to obtain records related to the Alaska National Guard scandal.

October 23, 2014

Congressman Young Doubles Down On Remarks About Suicide

On Monday, Congressman Don Young offended teens at Wasilla High with statements some took to be blaming family and friends for a student’s recent suicide. In a written statement, a spokesman said Young should have been more sensitive. But Tuesday, Young doubled down on his remarks about suicide.

October 23, 2014

Wasilla Principal Says Congressman Young Offended Grieving School

The principal of Wasilla High School says Congressman Don Young offended her students at a school assembly yesterday. Young, known for brash talk throughout his four decades in office, spoke to students about suicide and gay marriage in a manner Principal Amy Spargo describes as hurtful.

October 22, 2014
With Millions Pumped into U.S. Senate Race, Voters Near Their Limit

With Millions Pumped into U.S. Senate Race, Voters Near Their Limit

About $46 million has been spent so far to convince Alaskans to either vote for Sen. Mark Begich or challenger Dan Sullivan. One clear effect: Voter annoyance is rampant.

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October 20, 2014

State Disputes ANWR Boundaries

The state of Alaska has launched the opening salvo in a border dispute with the federal government over the western edge of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. At stake is a 20 thousand acre wedge of land that the federal government counts as part of ANWR. But in a letter to the BLM today, the state asserts the government has mapped ANWR incorrectly. The state says the wedge of land between the Canning and the Staines River is actually outside the refuge, according to a 1960 legal description of the refuge border.

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October 17, 2014

Elections Chief: Parties Say What They Want in Voter Pamphlet

The Division of Elections voter pamphlet is arriving in mailboxes across the state. Way in the back is a page that caught some voters by surprise. It’s a negative ad against Sen. Mark Begich.

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October 10, 2014

In New Ad, Begich Pledges to Work on Fixing Health Care Law

For those who want to unseat U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, one strategy has prevailed from the start: Bind him to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. A new ad from Republican challenger Dan Sullivan is typical of that approach.

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October 7, 2014

Profile: Rep. Young, Still Punching, Seeks Another Term

Congressman Don Young doesn’t hold back. At 81, he still thunders his opposition to the federal government when he gets worked up about it.

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October 3, 2014

Sullivan Allowed to Keep In-State Tax Credits in Maryland

Maryland tax collectors had good news for Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan today, and perhaps bad news for his campaign. Maryland authorities say he doesn’t have to repay about $5,000 in homestead tax credits he received from 2006 to 2008, for a home he owned in Bethesda. Only owners claiming a home as their principal residence are entitled to the credits.

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September 30, 2014

How Should U.S. Lead in the Arctic?

Arctic experts and policymakers gathered at a Washington, D.C. think-tank today to focus on how the U.S. might wield its leadership when it assumes the chairmanship of the Arctic Council next year. Recommendations ranged from the lofty to the concrete.

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September 30, 2014

Another Begich Ad Alleges Alaska’s U.S. Senators Co-operate

Sen. Lisa Murkowski keeps trying to shake him off, but Sen. Mark Begich continues to insist they have a good working relationship.

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September 29, 2014