In the campaign for the U.S. Senate, the Republican primary has taken a turn for the negative. Dan Sullivan has sent mailers to voters in Anchorage and Fairbanks bashing rival Republican Mead Treadwell.
The flyers say Treadwell is a hypocrite because he criticizes the Obama stimulus bill but previously owned a million-dollar stake in a Baltimore-based company that won stimulus contracts.
Sullivan campaign spokesman Mike Anderson says Treadwell attacked first.
“The final straw for us occurred last month at the debate in Homer, when Mead used the same false attacks that Mark Begich and his liberal allies have been spouting on the airwaves,” Anderson said in a written statement.
At that debate, Treadwell said Sen. Mark Begich could win re-election if Sullivan wins the primary, because Begich had “successfully tagged” Sullivan as a “carpet-bagger.” Treadwell also told the Homer audience Alaskans are concerned about Sullivan’s lack of experience and his support for HB77, an unpopular bill to speed natural resource permitting.
“Quite frankly, once Treadwell started using the Democrats’ playbook, Dan had no choice but to respond,” Anderson said.
The mailers Sullivan sent say Treadwell benefitted from stimulus money through his stake in a Baltimore company called Ellicott Dredges. The company received nearly $6 million in stimulus funds. Treadwell was a board member of the company until 2009, when he resigned and sold most of his stock. CEO Peter Bowe says the allegation against Treadwell is off-base because most of the stimulus money — $4 million — was for a dredge the government bought, and Ellicott didn’t get that award until mid-2010, after Treadwell resigned from the board. The company also got nearly $2 million in stimulus funds as a grant to upgrade machinery in 2009, while Treadwell was on the board, Bowe says. He says that was a management decision and Treadwell had objected to the federal spending.
Treadwell, in his candidate disclosure statement, say he still owns shares in Ellicott worth over $100,000 (up to $250,000) and receives dividends of at least $15,000. He remains on an advisory board for the company, for which he was paid more than $3,000. Bowe, the CEO, was Treadwell’s roommate at Yale and has contributed to his campaign.