By Kevin Kelley
Fairview Park native Dan Sullivan leads a three-way primary race in Alaska for the Republican Party’s nomination for a U.S. Senate seat.
According to two opinion polls completed in the past two weeks, Sullivan held single-digit leads over his two GOP challengers, Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and attorney Joe Miller. The winner of the Aug. 19 Republican primary will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in November. Formerly the mayor of Anchorage, Begich narrowly beat incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Stevens in the 2008 election.
Four surveys taken by Public Policy Polling since May show Begich with a 4 to 7 percent lead over Sullivan, assuming the latter is the Republican nominee.
Although Alaska is considered a red state, Begich has cultivated support from Alaska’s fiercely independent-minded voters. The Public Policy Polling numbers have him drawing 15 percent of Republican voters in a race against Sullivan. In an interview with The Hill newspaper, Begich bragged about opposing President Barack Obama on gun rights and oil and gas production, and the publication said the Democrat “is doing everything he can to put distance between himself and the national party.”
Sullivan, who previously served as Alaska’s attorney general and commissioner of natural resources, describes himself as an “action conservative” on his campaign’s website. An effective leader, he said, puts into action “the values of strong families, less government and more freedom, private enterprise, lower taxes, and state sovereignty.”
Sullivan graduated from Harvard University in 1987 with an economics degree before getting a joint law degree and master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University in 1993. He then joined the Marines, and still serves in the Reserves. After working for a private law firm, Sullivan served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs during the administration of President George W. Bush.
Sullivan met his wife, Julie Fate, a native of Alaska, while she was working for Sen. Stevens. The two have three teenage daughters.
Coincidentally, another Alaskan Republican politician named Dan Sullivan, the current mayor of Anchorage, is on the primary ballot, running to succeed Treadwell as lieutenant governor.