The candidate: Republican Mead Treadwell, lieutenant governor of Alaska The member: Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who is up for his first re-election The state: In 2008, Begich became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alaska since 1974. Four years later, Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential nominee to break the 40 percent mark there in four decades. The candidate’s team: Eddie Mahe and Ladonna Lee (general consultants), Dave Sackett of the Tarrance Group (polling),
Burke Wood (media).
Before Alaska Republicans can focus solely on unseating Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, they must first sort out an increasingly crowded field for the nomination.
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, the first Republican to announce his interest in the race late last year, would prefer the race already be about Begich’s record. But he will soon be just one of three top primary contenders.
“I believe that Mark Begich is the real challenge in this election, and we’re going to work very, very hard to make sure that Alaska has a voice that represents Alaskans, that stands with Alaska, and doesn’t vote for things like Obamacare,” Treadwell said in an interview with CQ Roll Call last week.
With 2010 nominee Joe Miller already in the race, state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan recently announced he was stepping down from his administration post and is now expected to run for Senate. The nominee won’t be known for nearly a year, which could complicate the GOP’s efforts to win a seat crucial to taking the majority.
Treadwell said he hopes to continue the legacy of longtime Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, whom Begich defeated in 2008.
“I’ve got 40 years of working on conservative issues in Alaska, fighting the federal government, helping bring power and decision-making home, as Ted Stevens did,” Treadwell said. “I’d like to pick up that legacy.”
In the interview, Treadwell, who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., also touched on how the mass murder there last year affected his thoughts on gun control.
“I support the 2nd Amendment and I maintain my support for the 2nd Amendment, ” Treadwell said. “But I can tell you that before Newtown and after Newtown I’ve been very dedicated to address the mental health problems” that can lead someone to commit such attacks.
This series questions the scores of congressional hopefuls who visit the CQ Roll Call offices each cycle. Responses and questions in the video have been edited and condensed. Have a question for a candidate? Follow us at @RollCallPols to learn about upcoming interviews.