Republicans' most likely path to retaking the Senate in November requires GOPers to pick up seats in six key states: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Of the six, Alaska—where Democratic Sen. Mark Begich is facing off against former Republican Attorney General Dan Sullivan—may be the closest race. That's why right-wing groups backed by the likes of the Koch brothers and Karl Rove are dumping millions into the state—and why Alaska unions are pulling out all the stops this year to make sure Begich, a fierce supporter of labor, carries the day.
One of the Alaskans who might save Democrat Mark Begich’s Senate seat had just returned home from a moose hunt. Jackie Cleveland is a third-generation resident of Quinhagak, a coastal village of 700 so remote that no roads lead to this bleak patch of frigid tundra. Cleveland and the other Alaska Natives here speak the indigenous language Yup’ik, brave unforgiving winds along the Bering Sea and proudly hunt, fish and gather their own food. On the gravel lanes and mucky yards of Quinhagak, this fall’s urgent fight for control of the U.S. Senate feels a world away. Yet this is where you’ll find Cleveland, 35, stepping into one living room after another to register her neighbors to vote and make the case for Begich.
It is one of a handful of races that could determine which party controls the Senate next year, but analysts -- including the veritable Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight -- agree that the polling in the Alaska Senate race is an absolute mess. It's nobody's fault. Just a historical fact. But it complicates the process of capturing the dynamics of the battle between Republican Dan Sullivan and incumbent Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK). "Alaska is a hard state to poll accurately," Silver wrote in his Sunday review of the polling there. He also concluded that in seven statewide races since 2000, Alaska polling has overestimated the Democratic candidate by 7.2 points compared to election day returns.
As the Senate returns to Washington to debate how to reduce the federal deficit and avoid severe automatic budget cuts, Sen. Mark Begich announced a new bill to strengthen the Social Security program while making clear the federal budget should not be balanced on the backs of America's seniors