Begich, Sullivan Rally Voters, Each His Own Way

cruz.photoIn the final days before the U.S. Senate election, candidates Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan making their final pitches, aiming to rally their supporters to the polls. Sullivan got help from two national figures representing polar opposites of the GOP: Mitt Romney, an establishment Republican, and Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party hero.

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Cruz travelled with Sullivan around the railbelt. At a rally in the Mat-Su Valley Sunday, Cruz spoke for about half an hour, and included calls to abolish the IRS and end federal regulation of fracking. Cruz, frequently adopting the cadence of an evangelical preacher, told a few hundred cheering fans the race would be won or lost right there.

“The men and women in this room, if everyone of you goes out and gets nine other people, you will win this race. You will elect Dan Sullivan and you, personally, will retire Harry Reid,” he said.

An Anchorage airplane hangar was the scene of a Republican rally with Romney today. Sullivan said he was happy to have the former presidential candidate there.

“It feels amazing! Shoulder to shoulder next to him,” Sullivan said from the stage.

By contrast, Begich’s final campaign days were more in the trenches. He gathered with supporters in Palmer and Wasilla, then met with a few dozen public employees in Anchorage on Saturday. With his wife dispatched to Bethel and his mom in Barrow, Begich handed out hot chocolate to UAF students today before flying back to Anchorage.

“Wherever there’s an undecided voter, I will show up,” he joked.

Polls show Begich is cutting into Sullivan’s lead. Or maybe not, depending on which poll you believe. PPP, a firm that polls for Democrats, called voters over the weekend and says Sullivan is just one percentage point ahead of Begich. But a poll last week, by New Jersey-based Rasmussen Reports, says Sullivan has pulled to his largest lead yet in a Rasmussen poll — 5 points.

The Division of Elections says as of yesterday, more than 47,000 Alaskans have already cast ballots, through early and absentee voting. That’s 18 percent of all ballots cast in Alaska’s last mid-term election, in 2010. Spending in the Senate race is now at $57 million, which comes to more than $200 per likely Alaska voter.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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