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. The Associated Press is calling Sullivan the winner. While Begich hasn’t conceded, the former attorney general seem to be claiming his victory.

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“I am deeply humbled and honored to serve my fellow Alaskans in the United States Senate,” Sullivan said in a written statement issued a few hours after the Division of Elections announced the results of some 17,000 late-counted ballots. Begich made slight gains in the latest count and now trails by 3.2 percentage points. The state still has more than 30,000 ballots left to count, though they’d have to break very differently to affect the outcome.

Campaign spokesman Mike Anderson said Sullivan would be en route to Washington today and plans to participate in Republican organizing conferences Thursday.

In the U.S. Capitol today, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell met with the incoming GOP freshmen, minus senators-elect from Alaska and Louisisana.

“We’re really excited about having a great new bunch here, and were hoping to be joined by Dan Sullivan and Bill Cassidy shortly,” McConnell said.

The new members of both parties meet this week for freshmen orientation. They don’t take office until January.