Center for Politics Adds Alaska to Senate Battleground Map
WASHINGTON – The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics made a key change Friday to its rating of the race for the Alaska Senate Seat currently occupied by GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan, moving the seat from “Safe” to “Likely” Republican in November.
Larry Sabato, the political scientist who founded the Center for Politics and also published Sabato’s Crystal Ball, an online newsletter, said the reason for the change is the strong showing to date of Dr. Al Gross, an independent candidate.
Sabato notes that the state of Alaska is more receptive to third-party candidates and points to Lisa Murkowski’s reelection in 2010 as a prime example.
He also notes that the change in rating “seems reasonable” given the politics in the state and the real threat that challenger Dr. Al Gross poses for the Republican incumbent.
Sullivan and Adam Master Newman are running in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Alaska, an event currently scheduled for August 18.
Gross would appear on the ballot for the Democratic primary the same day, but thus far there is no declared Democratic candidate.
“Our campaign is succeeding and growing because we are putting Alaskans first when it comes to their jobs, their education and their health care,” said Gross, a first time candidate.
“All these are under threat by the COVID-19 crisis and the special interests backing my opponent who want to force workers into unsafe workplaces, cut vital federal aid for our state and disinvest in our economy,” he said.
He is also unabashed about saying he hopes to be the candidate that flips the U.S. Senate chamber to the Democrats come November.
“Not only has Dan Sullivan cared more about these special interests than Alaskan working families, he’s also been an automatic ‘yes’ vote for Mitch McConnell and President Trump,” Gross said.
“This comes at a time when our people are more worried about being safe and making ends meet than brazen and unthinking partisanship. We may not get the headlines of some of the other contested Senate races, but make no mistake — when we win our fight here for working Alaskans, you’ll feel it in the Lower 48,” he said.