- Associated Press - Sunday, October 26, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The largest statewide organization of Alaska Natives has endorsed Democratic Sen. Mark Begich’s re-election bid.

The Alaska Federation of Natives, or AFN, also endorsed independent candidate Bill Walker for governor. Walker is running with Democrat Byron Mallott, a former leader of Sealaska Corp.

Begich has been courting the rural vote, including Alaska Natives, in his hotly contested race with Republican Dan Sullivan.

Sullivan, a former state attorney general, has sought to play up his ties to the community, noting, in part, that his wife is Alaska Native.

A number of Native groups backed Begich in the lead-up to the AFN convention. Leaders of the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. had endorsed Sullivan.

KTOO reports (http://bit.ly/1yCnzyS ) that AFN doesn’t always endorse candidates and conversations surrounding the Senate endorsement were sometimes tense.

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Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org

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