Can firing up the partisan base backfire in Alaska?

Can firing up the partisan base backfire in Alaska?

Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan faces a competitive reelection campaign against orthopedic surgeon Al Gross, a registered nonpartisan who won the Democratic primary. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo) Some vulnerable Republican senators have seized on the battle over the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court to fire up their conservative bases. But in Alaska, which leads the country by far with 58 percent of voters registered as nonpartisan or unaffiliated, Democrats are hoping to use Sen. Dan Sullivan’s quick call for confirmation — and fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s call to wait until after the election — as a cudgel in this year’s election. Sullivan, who according to CQ VoteWatch has voted with his party 96 percent of the time since his current term started in 2015, faces a serious challenge for reelection against orthopedic surgeon Al Gross, a registered nonpartisan who also won the Democratic nomination. Murkowski, whose CQ VoteWatch party unity score was 85 percent for the same period, endorsed Sullivan on Friday, which could give him entree to the state’s independents and moderate Republicans. Sullivan’s campaign says that by pledging his support for President Donald Trump’s pick to replace Ginsburg, he is standing up for Alaskans, whose interests in federal land and water management and other federal issues would be better represented by a conservative justice on the court. ‘The independent spirit’ But Democrats say the issue will remind voters of Sullivan’s record as a party-line Republican and allow Gross to sharpen […]

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