U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan quietly filed for reelection this week, without fanfare. His registration with the Alaska Division of Elections came Thursday, while he was in Washington, D.C. The deadline for candidates is June 1, but at this point he faces no Republican opponent in what looks like will be a sleepy Aug. 18 primary.
Many voters may have presumed he would run for reelection, and he has a campaign headquarters set up close to the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, but he had not yet made it official with the Division of Elections.
Sullivan has served for six years as a U.S. senator, after replacing former Sen. Mark Begich in 2014 by a slim margin, 48-46 percent, just 6,014 votes. This is his first reelection season.
Sullivan is being challenged by Al Gross, who is registered as undeclared and calls himself an independent, but who is running in the Democrats’ primary, with the Democrats’ endorsement, and who openly communicates that he seeks to “flip the state blue,” and “ditch Mitch” McConnell. The mainstream media has not asked him which party he will caucus with, but he has made it clear in his campaign materials that he is with the Democrats.
It appears that Sullivan is not focused on campaigning as much as his opponent is. Gross is running an aggressive campaign around the state, attempting to connect with thought leaders, and raising funds using the Democrats’ Act Blue software, while Sullivan is still focused on the national and state crisis that has developed this year, in what should be a year of campaigning.
While Gross crisscrosses the state, Sullivan holds a comfortable advantage in his approval rating with voters, with an 12-point advantage among independent voters, and strong approval among conservatives. The polling site fivethirtyeight.org gives Sullivan a 15-point advantage and calls his seat safe for his reelection.
Sullivan serves on several committees that impact Alaska:
- Committee on Armed Services
- Subcommittee on Airland
- Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support (Chairman)
- Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
- Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet
- Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
- Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
- Committee on Environment and Public Works
- Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife (Chairman)
- Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight
- Committee on Veterans’ Affairs