Mark Begich Logo

Get Updates:

Press Releases

Begich Opens Offices in Rural Alaska


ANCHORAGE - Mark Begich is “tough to beat because he’s a fighter and a seasoned campaigner” with “Bush cred” according to Alaska’s KTVA. The station joined Begich on a recent trip to Bethel and Napaskiak where Begich showed his deep understanding of and committment to rural Alaska before opening field offices in Bethel and Dillingham.

Begich is a proven champion for rural Alaska issues, with an established record of fighting for Alaska Native peoples and rural Alaska.

Begich’s accomplishments include brokering a deal to allow veterans in rural Alaska to receive care closer to home, bringing in thousands of dollars in fishery disaster funding, protecting bypass mail through his seat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, strengthening public safety in rural villages, and leading the effort to fully fund tribal health facilities.

Read and watch the full story here.

KTVA: Courting the rural vote: Begich opens campaign offices in Bethel, Dillingham

By Rhonda McBride 9:02 AM June 5, 2023

While Alaska’s Republican U.S. Senate candidates battle it out in the primary, the incumbent, Democrat Sen. Mark Begich, is free to focus on the general election.

Begich is using the lull before the storm to shore up his rural base — and with good reason.

It was the rural and Alaska Native vote that helped Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski win her historic write-in campaign in 2010.

And it was this same electorate Begich credits with helping him beat incumbent Ted Stevens in 2008.

“Rural communities were very helpful in getting me elected,” said Begich while on a campaign swing of Southwest Alaska. “Great turnout. Great support out here.”

On Friday, Begich opened campaign offices in Bethel and Dillingham. Others are planned for Nome, Barrow and Ketchikan. The Democrat candidate for governor, Byron Mallott, will also use the rural offices as a base of operations.

At the Bethel headquarters, there was a large, handmade sign with a greeting in Yup’ik.

“Waq’aa! Mark Begich,” it read.

The senator walked into the building to the sound of applause.

“I, for one, am very happy we’re opening a field office in Bethel,” said Ana Cooke, president and CEO of the Bethel Native Corporation.

“As rural people, we can feel disenfranchised sometimes,” Cooke said. “It’s through the election process that we get to reiterate our presence and our impact.”

Just before opening his Bethel headquarters, Begich made a boat trip to Napaskiak, a community a few miles downriver from Bethel.

The aluminum skiff was piloted by the mayor of Bethel, Joe Klejka. A shortcut to the village was suddenly aborted when one of the passengers on the boat called out, “Back off! It’s pretty shallow.”

The skiff carrying Begich took the longer route to Napaskiak; a reminder that there’s probably no Senate campaign like this in America, where candidates must reach out to voters scattered over vast distances which can involve risky travel.

When the boat pulled up to the muddy banks of the village, Begich clambered out laughing and joking about the mud as he made his way to the wooden boardwalks that serve as the main transportation corridor for four-wheelers and bicyclists.

Begich pointed out the speed bumps.

“I love it when you can see boardwalks with speed bumps,” Begich said.

In Napaskiak, there are no roads in and there are no roads within the community — just a network of boardwalks.

The cost of fuel is one thing Begich always asks about when he travels to remote communities. In Bethel it’s around $7 per gallon. In Napaskiak, it’s at least $8.

The next stop: the village store. Begich had a New York Times reporter in tow, Jeremy Peters, who is the newspaper’s political correspondent.

Peters’ coverage of Begich’s campaign swing signals the growing national importance of the Alaska U.S. Senate race.

Begich pointed out the price of goods brought in from Anchorage; more than $5 for a can of fruit cocktail. A large jar of pickles was more than $11.

“Who can afford to buy this?” Peters asked.

“King salmon is a huge staple,” Begich responded. “If they can’t fish for the salmon, this is what they have to pay for.”

The king salmon crisis was what Begich heard the most about during his trip to the Bethel area.

Last season, the run was at a record low. This summer appears to be a repeat of the last.

So far this year, king salmon fishing has been off limits to allow enough fish to make it to their spawning grounds in the upper reaches of the Kuskokwim River drainage.

Begich told tribal leaders he believes there needs to be more research out in the ocean to find out what’s causing the king shortage.

Some of the other issues in Napaskiak include a failing water and sewage system, cutbacks in hours at the village health clinic due to the loss of federal funding and anger over what many tribal members feel is the federal government’s failure to honor its tribal obligations.

“We’re being treated like dogs, you know,” said tribal administrator Steven Maxie, who is upset about the short staffing at the Native hospital in Bethel.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation recently announced massive layoffs, in large part due to federal budget cuts.

Begich took every opportunity to reinforce his “village cred.”

“I get a lot of criticism from the state, because I spend a lot of time on tribal issues,” Begich told tribal leaders.

He frequently mentioned the need for more support for tribal governments throughout his visit.

The state and Alaska tribes have had a troubled relationship for many years. It’s one the Republican Party has been slow to embrace, which could be a strike against it in Native communities, run mostly by tribal governments.

Begich also emphasized his Washington experience.

“Both our senators, myself and Lisa, are now on the appropriations committee. That’s a rare thing to have both U.S. senators on that committee,” Begich explained to Napaskiak tribal leaders.

The small tribal council office was packed with people, including children crouched on the floor.

Esai Twitchell, a tribal leader from the neighboring village of Kasigluk, said he hopes Begich and the other candidates will focus on the king salmon shortage.

“The salmon issues need to be in the forefront and discussed throughout their campaigns,” Twitchell said. “In order for you to understand the enormity of it, you have to be affected. You have to see it firsthand.”

Twitchell said Begich’s campaign visits to the region should help to solidify support in his region. But, he said, in the end it doesn’t matter to him whether a candidate is a Democrat or a Republican. What matters, Twitchell said, is their knowledge of the issues and what they bring to the people.

Over the years, Republicans have generally not spent much money courting the rural and Alaska Native vote.

But Peter Goldberg, the new Alaska Republican Party chairman, believes this will change after the August primary, once a nominee is selected.

He said the national GOP is already planning a high-profile presence in Alaska.

“The co-chairman of the Republican National Committee and the secretary of the Republican National Committee have already come to Alaska,” Goldberg said. “That says something of and by itself.”

Goldberg picked up a GOP brochure from Colorado from his desk to show as an example of the party’s changing priorities.

“It’s also in Spanish, so they’re reaching out very hard there, so they’re reaching out all over the country,” Goldberg said.

Similar minority outreach is planned for Alaska at the next state central committee meeting in September. Goldberg said leaders from various ethnic groups will be asked to speak to the committee and talk about what they feel is important.

Goldberg also believes the Republican Party message will resonate with rural Alaskans.

“It’s about everybody having a job, everybody being able to support themselves, not the state support them,” said Goldberg, who revealed that he grew up in a family which was once on welfare – but with a good education, he was able to become successful.

“There’s a lot of joblessness in Native villages. There’s no reason for that,” Goldberg said.

Begich doesn’t view federal aid to rural Alaskans as a handout.

“They’re just saying, ‘Help us help ourselves,’” Begich said.

“Because the energy is here. The enthusiasm is here. The desire is here,” he said. “Sometimes I sense they feel they are forgotten.”

But in an election year where the leadership of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance, there’s a good chance rural Alaskans will remembered.

“The amount of money that’s going to come in here from outside groups on TV and radio is going to be overwhelming,” said Max Croes, who works on the Begich campaign.

Randy Ruedrich, the former Alaska GOP chairman, said such spending is to be expected in a race with a vulnerable incumbent.

“I think we’re already approaching $20 million of committed money,” said Ruedrich of spending by Democrats and Republicans.

Ruedrich — who is credited as the architect of the current Republican majority in the House, the Senate and the governor’s office – believes the party’s dominance will influence rural voting patterns. He also said rural Alaskans have lost considerable clout in the Legislature due to population changes.

“As the state grows, the rural west has not kept up, and instead of the rural area having six house seats, we’re now down to four, ” said Ruedrich, who noted that four Western Alaska legislators in the House have joined the Republican majority, a sign the GOP is gaining more acceptance in what have previously been Democratic strongholds.

Republican strategists fully expect Begich to get a lot of rural votes — but the question is, how many? And will they be enough?

In 2010, Lisa Murkowski faced a three-way race against Republican Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams, so the rural and Native vote gave her a slight edge, as well as big campaign contributions from Alaska Native Corporations.

In a two-way race, Begich may not be able to draw enough Rural votes to push him over the top, especially if Republicans are able to build on growing support from Native communities dependent on oil and gas development, as well as mining.

Six Alaska Native corporations recently launched a campaign in support of Senate Bill 21, the oil tax reform measure the Republican majority pushed through the Legislature last year but is now up for a referendum in the August primary.

Republicans say this is another sign of the inroads their party is making.

In all, there are 11 candidates in the U.S. Senate race: two Democrats, four Republicans, three Libertarians and two Alaskan Independence Party members.

The three top-polling challengers are Republicans: Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, former Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller, who defeated Murkowski in the 2010 Republican primary.

Republican strategists say Begich will be tough to beat because he’s a fighter and a seasoned campaigner.

For now, Begich is working hard to get a head start on the Republican challenger he’ll face in the general, telling rural Alaskans they have an opportunity to make history; to decide whether Democrats will keep control of the U.S. Senate.



Karl Rove Pledges Millions to Alaska Republican Primary


An Outside group spending millions to buy Alaska’s Senate seat for U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has declared Alaska’s Republican Party primary is the only primary it will participate in from here on out.

Crossroads has announced that they will cease spending money in other primary races across the country, exclusively spending millions for their anointed candidate, Sullivan.

“Dan Sullivan is relying on Outside groups hellbent on spending millions in Alaska while he’s doing everything possible to avoid looking Alaskans in the eye and answering their questions about issues,” said Max Croes, Alaskans for Begich Communications Director.

Karl Rove backed Crossroads groups have pledged to spend an astounding $7 million dollars against Mark Begich on television ads in Alaska. Outside groups have collectively pledged nearly $10 million in television spending from now through Election Day in addition to the millions they’ve already spent.

Sullivan has several questionable connections to Crossroads groups including his own personal admission that a tipster close to the group gave him a “head’s up” about ads Rove is preparing to run.

Crossroads is currently up with an ad in Alaska politicizing the tragic deaths of veterans at a VA facility in Arizona. The Republican Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Jeff Miller (R-TX) has called the ads inappropriate and referred to them as a “political football.” said the ads ‘twist’ the truth.





Independent Group Calls Foul on Pro-Sullivan Ads


ANCHORAGE - An independent fact check organization is calling foul on Dan Sullivan and Karl Rove’s Crossroads for misleading attempts to score political points in Alaska using the Veterans Affairs scandal in Arizona and the tragic deaths of over 40 veterans. picked apart Sullivan’s claims by detailing Begich’s swift response to the VA scandal within hours of the investigation. The fact check makes clear that the ad conflates past benefits backlog issues at the Anchorage VA in 2010 and the current scandal at the Arizona VA - for each issue Begich swiftly demanded answers and that the VA find solutions immediately. writes: Twisting Begich’s Response to VA Scandal

“The ad quotes Begich as saying, “If there’s a problem, they need to fix it,” and then asks incredulously, “if there is a problem?” to suggest that Begich doesn’t believe there is one. But three weeks before he made that remark, Begich condemned reports of mismanagement at the VA as a “disgrace” and called for an immediate investigation and a national policy to allow veterans to get care at non-VA health facilities.”

“Once again Dan Sullivan’s attempts to score political points by bending the truth have been called out by an independent fact check organization, caring for our veterans and delivering them the benefits they’ve earned isn’t a political issue,” said Max Croes, Alaskans for Begich Communications Director.

Within 24 hours of the VA scandal in Arizona Mark Begich wrote the Veterans Administration calling the incident “disgraceful” and urged the VA to adopt solutions to capacity issues. Begich then put tough questions to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki calling for those responsible to be held accountable.

By contrast, U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan spent weeks without mentioning the unacceptable conditions at the Arizona VA until breaking a nearly month-long silence by politicizing the VA scandal and calling to “Put Republicans in the Senate.”

In Alaska, veteran wait times are dramatically down thanks to improved access to primary care and partner agreements supported by Mark Begich between local non-VA medical providers and the Alaska VA.

Republican Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, also labeled the ad attacking Mark Begich a “political football.”



Buzzfeed List Offers Suggestions


ANCHORAGE - U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan complimented Mark Begich by filming a campaign commercial at Anchorage’s Dena’ina Center, a location that showcases the results Begich has delivered for Alaska. To return the favor, Alaskans for Begich is suggesting 10 locations for Dan Sullivan to shoot his next ad and continue his pattern of showcasing Mark Begich’s record of delivering results for Alaskans.

















The list builds on Dan Sullivan’s statement that Alaska needs “real results.” Which Mark Begich has delivered, including the Dena’ina Center Sullivan obliviously filmed his ad on top of. It has been called the “crowning achievement” of Begich’s time as mayor.

Begich has already provided a few suggested locations in his own ad providing Sullivan some helpful suggestions for businesses and locations – like Merrill Field or Eielson Air Force Base that have benefited from Begich’s leadership, that Dan can use in his future ads.

Dan Sullivan’s growing record of campaign ad blunders includes his endorsement from the anti-Alaska Club for Growth which is currently spending hundreds of thousands on television ads in Alaska and his statement Begich didn’t respond to the Arizona VA scandal when Begich had responded within 24 hours.




ANCHORAGE — U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan fell flat in an attempt to introduce himself to Alaskans by failing to know which Alaska city he was in when filing his candidacy paperwork.

Dan Sullivan tweeted he was “filing for U.S. Senate in Fairbanks.”

PROBLEM: He was standing in Anchorage outside the Division of Elections. Without telling Alaskans how he confused two of Alaska’s largest cities, Sullivan deleted the tweet.

Sullivan’s mistake isn’t gone, however. The deleted Tweet is stored here.

The error comes at a time when Sullivan is doing everything he can to avoid legitimate questions about his Alaska residency.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/29/2014 CONTACT: Max Croes — 907-570-2065

ANCHORAGE — Republican Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, labeled Karl Rove’s latest ad attacking Mark Begich a “political football.” Karl Rove’s group, Crossroads GPS, is politicizing the death of multiple veterans in Arizona with a political attack ad in Alaska. Crossroads groups have pledged to spend $7 million dollars on television ads in Alaska. Outside groups have collectively pledged nearly $10 million in television spending from now through Election Day in addition to the millions they’ve already spent. Live on CNN Chairman Miller was shown Karl Rove’s attack ad and responded: Anchor Jake Tapper: “Is that appropriate, that kind of using this scandal, these deaths, in politics?” Chairman Jeff Miller: “No, I wouldn’t use anything like that politically…this is a bipartisan issue. We’re talking about Americans, people that have worn the uniform. It should not be a political football and we on the House side have not done that.” The Hill reported on Miller’s comments. Watch Miller’s comments here:

Miller: VA scandal ad not ‘appropriate’


By Peter Sullivan Read more: Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) said Wednesday it was not appropriate for conservative group Crossroads GPS to use the Veterans Affairs controversy in ads. In an interview on CNN, host Jake Tapper played a new ad from the group attacking Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), whom it accuses of not doing enough to fix mounting problems within the VA system. “A national disgrace. Veterans died waiting for care that never came. Sen. Mark Begich sits on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. His response? If there’s a problem, they need to fix it. If there’s a problem?” says the ad’s narrator. Asked if the ad was “appropriate,” Miller said, “No, I wouldn’t use anything like that politically.” “This is a bipartisan issue,” he added. “We’re talking about Americans, people that have worn the uniform. It should not be a political football. And we on the House side have not done that.” Crossroads GPS is not alone in using the ongoing scandal at the Veterans Affairs Department to criticize Democrats. The National Republican Congressional Committee hit the White House for saying President Obama learned of alleged treatment delays and secret waiting lists covering up patient deaths from news reports. “The White House keeps using the same tired excuse and expects Americans to keep believing it,” said NRCC spokesman Matt Gorman. “While it’s nice to know that President Obama is such a news junkie, Americans expect leadership and accountability from their president.” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also called out Senate Democrats for not taking up the House-passed VA Accountability Act, which would make it easier to fire senior executives for poor performance. “As we head home to honor the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom, it’s fair to ask why Senate Democrats won’t stand up for more accountability?” Boehner said in a statement last week. The Senate side has also been critical of Democrats on the issue. “This horrible scandal is another egregious sign of an inept and incompetent government run by Democrats over the last five years,” the National Republican Senatorial Committee said in a blog post.




ANCHORAGE: Within 24 hours of the veterans scandal in Arizona Mark Begich wrote the Veterans Administration calling the incident “disgraceful” and urging the VA to adopt solutions to capacity issues. Begich then put tough questions to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki calling for those responsible to be held accountable.
Now Karl Rove’s network of Outside “Crossroads” attack groups are rushing to defend U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s month-long silence on the VA scandal by attacking Mark Begich. Rove’s organizations has pledged to spend over $7 million on attack ads against Begich between now and Election Day.

“Turning the death of veterans in Arizona into a political attack ad in Alaska proves the appalling and disgraceful lengths Dan Sullivan and his Outside allies will go to wage political attacks that disgust Alaskans. Caring for our nation’s veterans and fighting to make sure our veterans receive the care they deserve isn’t about politics, Mark Begich knows that and it’s why he called for answers from the VA within 24 hours of the Arizona scandal and why he’s pushed the VA to improve care in Alaska by delivering local care to rural veterans and significantly reducing wait times at the Anchorage VA,” Susanne Fleek-Green, Alaskans for Begich Campaign Manager.

U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan spent weeks without mentioning the unacceptable conditions at the Arizona VA until breaking a nearly month-long silence by politicizing the VA scandal and calling to “Put Republicans in the Senate.”
In Alaska, veteran wait times are dramatically down thanks to improved access to primary care and partner agreements supported by Mark Begich between local non-VA medical providers and the Alaska VA.




ANCHORAGE — From atop the Dena’ina Center in downtown Anchorage Mark Begich shares his record of delivering results for Alaska. The list includes the convention center Begich oversaw from concept to completion and Dan Sullivan obliviously used to proclaim “we need real results, not just talk.”

Begich reminds Sullivan the convention center they both stood on was built at Begich’s urging. Begich also offers Dan Sullivan suggestions for future political advertisements including Eielson Air Force Base where Begich kept the F-16s or the new hospitals in Nome or Barrow Begich delivered funds for.



“Dan Sullivan paid high praise to Mark Begich by filming a political ad at the Dena’ina Center and we are happy to suggest additional locations where Dan Sullivan can showcase more of the results Mark Begich has delivered for Alaska,” said Alaskans for Begich Communications Director Max Croes.

The convention center was called the “crowning achievement” of Mark Begich’s tenure as mayor of Anchorage.

Filming an ad on top of the Dena’ina Center without knowing it was built at the urging of one of his opponents feeds legitimate questions Dan Sullivan has been battling about his residency since declaring his candidacy.


Begich: I’m Mark Begich … and Dan Sullivan shot this TV ad here at the Dena’ina Center saying I don’t get results. Well, I got the Dena’ina Center built that Dan was standing on. And this steel plant? It has more business because I got the administration to allow more drilling. I approved this message because here are some more nice places Dan could use in his next ad …At Merrill Field where I expanded the safety zone … At Eielson where we kept the F-16s … The new hospitals at Nome . . . . at Barrow …The coal fired power plant we saved …



Republicans Praise Begich for Bringing Jobs to Alaska

ANCHORAGE - Mark Begich launched Republicans for Begich, a group of Alaska Republicans supporting his re-election campaign for U.S. Senate. Members of the group gathered at Arctic Wire and Rope, an Alaska small business owned by Alaska Republican Eric McCallum.

“Democrat or Republican – I’m Alaskan first,” said Mark Begich. “Born and raised here, I’m willing to work with anyone on either side of the aisle to make sure that Alaska businesses, families and communities get the support they need. I’ve had Republicans support me in every election and this one is no different.”

Mark Begich speaks at Arctic Wire and Rope

“This isn’t about personality or politics,” said Eric McCallum, owner of Arctic Wire and Rope. “I support Mark Begich and I support Lisa Murkowski as Alaska’s team in Washington because Alaska businesses can’t afford to lose their seniority and clout on both sides of the aisle.”

Eric McCallum speaks of his support for Mark Begich

McCallum also praised Begich’s support for the CD-5 project in National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska that created construction jobs.

“Mark and I have worked together since he was mayor of Anchorage. Despite our differences, he has always put Alaska first and has an eye to the needs of every corner of the state. His track record of success as our senator shows that. From clearing federal hurdles so we can bring Alaska’s resources to market, or using his clout to protect our military bases and our state’s economy, I know he’s the man for the job.” - Jim Whitaker, Former Mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, 2003-2009, Republican.

On a wide range of issues, Begich has routinely reached across the aisle to stand with Alaskans, including support for Second Amendment rights, a balanced budget, Alaska oil and gas development, and opposition to unnecessary regulations that harm Alaska energy production.

Begich works side by side with Senator Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young on issues important to Alaska. Begich brings additional clout to the state through his seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

Joined by several Republicans at today’s press conference, Begich has garnered the support of Alaska Republicans from all over the state who have joined Alaskans for Begich. Names include:

Renee Staley

Bob Thorstenson

Bernard Gatewood

Jim Whitaker

Renee Staley

Lynn Kracke

Dick Tremaine

Andy Holleman

Irma Liston

Martin Sherman

Betty Glick

Julia Dodds

Michael Silverbook

Eric McCallum

Sylvia Kennedy

James Kubitz

George Tuckness

Curtis McQueen

Bruce Williams

David Wrigley

Gary Katsion

Keith Brownsberger

Jeanne Swartz

Theda Pittman

Shelly Severa

Kenneth Trout

Erich Heinrich

Robert Gleason

Steve Carroll

Lynn Ridle

Don McKenzie



Group once advocated selling Alaska back to Russia


Dan Sullivan’s growing record of campaign ad blunders includes his endorsement from the anti-Alaska Club for Growth will begin spending money on television ads in Alaska starting this week.

In recent years, the notoriously secretive Club for Growth has raised and spent over $700,000 in Alaska trying to unseat Don Young, and called for donors of Senator Lisa Murkowski to seek refunds during her 2010 campaign.

“A DC-based group - who once advocated selling Alaska back to Russia - telling Alaskans who to vote for is just insulting. Alaskans are tired of Outside groups coming in telling them what to think and who to vote for,” said Max Croes, Alaskans for Begich Communications Director.

Sullivan featured his anti-Alaska endorsement in a campaign advertisement proclaiming “Alaskans are supporting Dan Sullivan.” The ad contained zero endorsements from Alaskans, only quotes from the DC-based Club for Growth.

Sullivan also ran an ad calling for “results not talk” on top of downtown Anchorage’s Dena’ina Center, oblivious to the fact that the center’s construction was championed and shepherded through by then Mayor Mark Begich.

According to Congressman Young the Club for Growth is “one of the most extreme groups in Washington D.C.” with an Anti-Alaska agenda of cutting funding for veterans, seniors and Alaska Native education.

Club for Growth Record in Alaska:

  • In 2008 the Club for Growth opposed Congressman Don Young in the U.S. House primary.
  • In 2010 the Club for Growth endorsed Joe Miller in the U.S. Senate race and spent over $300,000 against Senator Lisa Murkowski.
  • The Club for Growth fought for the ban on earmarks, a practice that has helped Alaska build critical roads, hospitals, military infrastructure, and ports.