This makes me very happy:
If a Democrat like Begich who is running in a red state can tout the ACA's success, this is very encouraging. Especially since Begich is getting hit with attack ads:The Affordable Care Act remains deeply unpopular across the conservative terrain of Alaska, but a super PAC supporting Democratic Sen. Mark Begich's reelection isn't shying away from touting the health care law's success stories.
The pro-Begich group Put Alaska First released an ad Thursday titled "Beat," in which breast cancer survivor Lisa Keller notes Obamacare enabled her to get health insurance despite the pre-existing condition.
"I was lucky I beat cancer, but the insurance companies still denied me health insurance just because of a pre-existing condition," Keller says in the ad. "I now have health insurance again because of Mark Begich. Because he fought the insurance companies, so that we no longer have to." - Huffington Post, 4/10/14
But Begich is following the same strategy President Obama used in his 2012 re-election campaign:Begich, his top Republican challenger and nine outside groups already have aired ads more than 6,900 times, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising.
“We’re attracting a great deal of outside money and outside focus on our campaigns,” said Jerry McBeath, a political scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
“And in tight races, this additional contribution of outside funds, which currently favors the Republican Party more than the Democratic Party, can be critical,” McBeath said in a telephone interview.
More ads have run in the Alaska contest than in all but four other Senate races, CMAG data show. North Carolina, which leads with more than 11,100 ads, has 13 times the population of Alaska, the nation’s fourth least-populous state.
The burst of early ads in Alaska comes more than four months before the Aug. 19 Republican primary and seven months before the Nov. 4 general election. It’s a lot of television in a state where just 256,000 votes were cast in the 2010 Senate election, fewer than were tallied in Manhattan in last year’s New York City mayoral election.
Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit group favoring limited government that was founded by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, has paid for two ads that have run in Alaska 1,453 times, more than any other group or candidate. The group was first on the air in Alaska, introducing a spot in November linking Begich to Obama’s health-care law.
Americans for Prosperity’s second ad, which ran in February and March, again attacked Begich on health care and also accused the incumbent of supporting a carbon tax. American Energy Alliance, a nonprofit group promoting more domestic energy production, made the same claim in an ad that began running April 2. PolitiFact, a St. Petersburg, Florida-based fact-checking group, rated the carbon-tax claim as “mostly false.” - Bloomberg, 4/6/14
Plus Begich also had a great fundraising haul:After months of wincing in the face of negative ads funded by the industrialists David and Charles Koch, Democrats believe they have finally found a way to fight back: attacking the brothers’ sprawling business conglomerate as callous and indifferent to the lives of ordinary people while pursuing profit and power.
By drawing public attention to layoffs by subsidiaries of Koch Industries across the country — a chemical plant in North Carolina, an oil refinery in Alaska, a lumber operation in Arkansas — Democrats are seeking to make villains of the reclusive billionaires, whose political organizations have spent more than $30 million on ads so far to help Republicans win control of the Senate.
The approach should seem familiar. President Obama and his allies ran against Mitt Romney in 2012 by painting a dark picture of Bain Capital, the firm Mr. Romney founded, as a company that cut jobs and prized the bottom line over the well-being of its employees.
Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, has called out the Kochs — whose combined net worth is estimated to be $100 billion — in his latest ads. In one, which features a picture of the brothers grinning, one of them wearing a tuxedo, Alaskans look directly into the camera and unload. “They come into our town, buy our refinery,” says one. “Just running it into the ground,” says another. “A lot of Alaskans are losing jobs, and I’m definitely concerned about the drinking water,” says a young woman holding a baby. - New York Times, 4/6/14
However Begich's likely opponent also had a great fundraising haul but there's a catch:Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska raised just over $1 million in the year's first fundraising quarter and has roughly $2.8 million on hand, his campaign said Tuesday.
The total is a strong haul for the one-term incumbent, in a state where TV ads come relatively cheap. But the report also indicates that Begich is burning through his cash as fast as he can raise it, as conservative outside groups take advantage of those cheap TV ad rates: Begich also had $2.8 million on hand to close 2013. - National Journal, 4/8/14
Emphasis mine.The war chest Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan will need if he faces off against Sen. Mark Begich has grown to $2 million after another strong fundraising quarter that saw him take in more than $1.3 million. Those numbers, part of a summary released by the Sullivan campaign on Thursday, show that Sullivan took in about $300,000 more than Begich in the first three months of 2013. Begich recently reported having $2.8 million on hand. The full reports likely won’t be available until at least April 15, the deadline for filing the campaign contribution reports. With gobs of money pouring into the race from Outside, candidates have been touting their Alaska support. Begich said he has received more than 1,500 donations from Alaskans in the quarter. Sullivan’s summary did not report his Alaska donations for the quarter. He’s been criticized for getting much of his support from his home state of Ohio, headquarters of RPM International, an international, publicly-traded company started by his grandfather and headed by his brother, Frank C. Sullivan. Sullivan's Republican opponents, Joe Miller and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, have not issued summaries of their recent fundraising efforts. - Alaska Dispatch, 4/10/14
Begich has been highlighting his Alaskan roots in his re-election bid so while Sullivan gets more outside funding, Begich can use that against him. Begich is playing it smart by emphasizing he's the true blue Alaskan and it will pay off. Plus Sullivan has the Club for Growth's backing:
But Begich has a strong record to run. His biggest accomplishment is saving Social Security and sparking the call for expanding the program:There’s a reason for the scarcity of Club endorsements this year. Where other conservative groups have sought to create havoc in as many primaries as possible — the Senate Conservatives Fund, for one, has endorsed plainly flawed, underdog challengers to incumbents in Kansas and Kentucky — the Club prefers to engage in fewer races and have a dramatic impact in each.
Chris Chocola, a well-coiffed man of substantial personal wealth who spends his winters in Florida, ticks off a simple calculus the Club uses. The most appealing targets are open seats in conservative states, he says, followed by districts and states where Republican incumbents are failing to meet the Club’s ideological standards. Third on the priority list are seats held by incumbent Democrats.
In every district or state where the Club might get involved, the group takes a poll to ascertain whether there is a path to victory. It polls far more potential targets than it ever gets involved in, strategists say; nearly every survey is conducted by the media-averse GOP pollster Jon Lerner, who is viewed by his peers in the consulting world as a gray eminence with outsized influence at the Club.
So far this year, the Club has picked a few candidates in each target category: It has backed primary challengers to Reps. Mike Simpson of Idaho and Ralph Hall of Texas, as well as Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton, whom the Club endorsed for his first House race, has won the group’s support in his bid against Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. The Club has backed former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan’s campaign against Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, and endorsed conservative college president Ben Sasse for Nebraska’s open Senate seat. Politico, 4/7/14
And Begich has a great track record for looking out for Alaska Natives and is continuing to fight for them:In the summer of 2013, the same core of mostly online progressive organizers put out a call for another informal gathering, this time devoted to the question of expanding Social Security. The crowd gathered in late June at the Netroots Nation conference in San Jose. The vote was, once again, unanimous. "The idea was we don't want to fight for just definitional stuff [like defending Social Security]," says Lawson. "Let's fight for our aspirational stuff."
The Netroots crew also reached a consensus on how to back an expansion. Initially, some wanted to back a proposal from Sen. Mark Begich (DAlaska), a moderate facing a tough reelection fight in his conservative-leaning home state. Others favored liberal stalwart Sen. Harkins plan, which went a step further than Begich's by creating a new formula for calculating benefits that would boost them, on average, by about $70 a month. In order to main- tain unity, the groups decided to crossendorse each bill, and together push for the "Harkin-Begich plan."
A month later, the blitz was on.
On July 27, the senators went on The Ed Show on MSNBC to promote their proposal to scrap the programs cap on high-income earners and increase benefits. Yearly income above $113,700 is exempted from the payroll tax that funds the Social Security Trust Fund. Lifting that cap would extend the program's long-term solvency and provide the means to fund two major increases: Harkin's proposal to raise monthly benefits and a more generous cost-ofliving adjustment.
The PCCC sent out a video of the segment to its supporters, and along with Democracy for America, Social Security Works and CREDO, started collecting signatures in support of an expansion. They now have more than 650,000. The AFL-CIO, too, strongly backs Social Security expansion. Neither Harkin's nor Begich's bill stands a chance of passing the GOP-dominated House, but that's beside the pointthe Harkin-Begich plan, at its core, is about messaging. It's about changing the parameters of the debate over Social Security, which during the Obama era has been limited to quibbles over how much to cut. By these measures, the drive for expansion has been a resounding success. - Insurance Net, 4/5/14
We need to keep Begich in the Senate so he can continue to fight for expanding Social Security and Native American affairs. Click here to donate to his campaign:The last time we talked, you mentioned the need for a hearing focused on strengthening the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to include jurisdictional provisions for Alaska Native tribes. That hearing, which you co-chaired April 2, highlighted yours and Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) Safe Families and Villages legislation, and your desire to repeal Section 910 of VAWA, which excludes Alaska Natives from the VAWA jurisdiction provisions granted by Congress last year to tribes in the lower 48 states. Please explain your desire to repeal Section 910.
What 910 really does is prevent the Alaska Native community from having full criminal prosecution regarding any crimes that may occur within what we consider tribal land. It also does not allow us to have equal type of law enforcement that reservation tribes do. When someone comes onto reservation land [in the lower 48 states], and they commit a crime on that land as a Native or non-Native, they can still go through a prosecution process. With us, that can’t happen. It really is a problem. We have tribal courts that exist with cooperation and agreement from the state, but they have very limited capacity.
The VAWA with the increased jurisdiction provisions for tribes in the lower 48 just passed Congress just last year with 910 in there. Why was 910 included in that legislation at all?
We attempted to try to get it out, but we did not have agreement, honestly, within our [federal] delegation on this. I’m a very strong supporter of tribal rights and tribal responsibility and self-determination. I’ve always been that way—it’s not a newfound belief since coming to the Senate. I think in a lot of ways I couldn’t get agreement. I knew if it was put in there the way it was written, Section 910, that we would see a backlash from within our Alaska Native communities. And that is what is happening. I wish we could have taken it out, but we also had the state of Alaska being totally against taking that section out of there. They wanted that section. I know they lobbied members of the [Senate Committee on Indian Affairs] when the bill was being reviewed, and they were able to prevail on the idea that 910 was needed so as not to interfere with states’ rights. I wasn’t on the committee at that time. If I was on the committee at that time, I would have done everything I could to prevent that section from being added in there.
Beyond repealing 910, it’s clear that Alaska Native tribal advocates want amendments added to your bill that would increase and enhance Alaska Native tribal jurisdiction over non-tribal offenders. You were supportive during the hearing of adding those kinds of amendments, but is that going to be easy?
It’s not going to be easy, but I will tell you, the Alaska Federation of Natives and a group called the Tanana Chiefs Conference have created a tribal law project that encourages jurisdiction for tribes to implement tribal law and order issues. We know that non-tribal member perpetrators are a problem for tribes in Alaska, yet tribes have no jurisdiction. I’m not sure how far we will get with this. The good news is there are more folks getting aware of this issue. Sen. [Heidi] Heitkamp [D-N.D.], as you heard during the hearing, was not aware, really, of what was going on in Alaska on these issues. And now she is willing to work with us in any way she can to make our legislation have the same impact as the increased tribal jurisdiction in the lower 48.
Tribal judge Natasha Singh testified in favor of a tribal law project-inspired amendment at the hearing. What are the political realities in your state of getting that project implemented?
This would deal with curbing child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and other issues among tribal members and non-members, yet the state is not supporting it at this point. In order to make it work, I want to put it inside the Safe Families and Villages Act, so we have more tools to fight these incredibly big problems. The politics of it—the state will more than likely oppose it. But I hope they are supportive of the people of Alaska. - Indian Country Media Network Today, 4/7/14