- The Washington Times - Friday, October 10, 2014

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich will get a helping hand from teachers’ union leader Randi Weingarten on Saturday, a few days after a poll put the senator 6 points behind Republican challenger Dan Sullivan in Alaska’s Senate race.

Ms. Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, will swing through Anchorage to introduce Mr. Begich at the Alaska Public Employees Association’s biennial caucus and kick off an AFL-CIO event, highlighting the right to vote “as a way to address the serious issues members face in the workplace every day,” the union said in a press release.

Mr. Begich may need help where he can get it, after he earned 44 percent of support compared to 50 percent for Mr. Sullivan in a CNN poll released Thursday.

The poll found Mr. Sullivan, a former state attorney general and an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, leading Mr. Begich, 50-45 percent, among voters in Anchorage, where Mr. Begich previously served as mayor.

It also found the senator, unlike other Democrats, fares no better with women voters than he does with men.

Mr. Begich, one of the GOP’s main targets as they try to pick up six Senate seats and take the majority, is forging an independent posture as he seeks re-election.

Earlier this week, he released a radio ad, titled “Fix It,” which touts Obamacare’s treatment of people with pre-existing medical conditions while touting his pitch for a low-cost Copper Plan on the health exchanges.

“To me this is a critical core issue for Alaskans,” he says in the ad. “When I think about the health care law, frustrated, disappointed, you can put a lot of words towards it, but everyday I work to try to fix it because the way Alaskans operate, we come together to learn how to solve the problems and move forward.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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