A new poll of likely Alaska voters finds incumbent Democratic senator Mark Begich leading a potential Republican challenger by 12 points with the inclusion of an independent candidate. Begich, who was first elected in 2008 over scandal-plagued Republican Ted Stevens, has 45 percent support in the Hayes poll, while one Republican candidate, former attorney general Dan Sullivan, gets 33 percent.
Joe Miller, the failed 2010 Republican candidate for Senate, may run as an independent and registers 10 percent support in the poll. The conservative and Tea Party-aligned Miller defeated incumbent Republican senator Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 primary, only to have Murkowski win reelection to her Senate seat as a write-in candidate. If he ran as an independent in 2014, Miller would likely take votes away from the Republican nominee.
Adam Hays, the pollster who conducted the survey, tells the Alaska Dispatch that he did not include another Republican candidate, lieutenant governor Mead Treadwell, because Sullivan has a "fairly solid lead" in the GOP primary, which will be in August.
Sullivan, meanwhile, has released a 60-second radio ad touting his "love" of Alaska, a state he moved to 16 years ago after meeting his wife, who was an aide to Ted Stevens. "As your attorney general, I sued to stop Oabmacare, fought the EPA from shutting down our state, and stood up for Alaska's most vulnerable," Sullivan says in the spot. "As your commissioner of natural resources, I fought against job-killing regulations to jump-start energy production and create jobs." Listen to the ad below: