- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - U.S. Sen. Mark Begich said Saturday that the Alaska Senate race is about the state’s future, not President Barack Obama’s.

Begich spoke to volunteers in Juneau with Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee who was in Alaska as part of a trip that included an Alaska Native gathering in Petersburg on Friday and campaign stops.

She praised Begich as a moderate who is unafraid to stand up to Obama and called him a role model. Begich previously helped Heitkamp in her campaign.

Begich said that there are people who are mad at Obama and want to transfer that anger to him. But he said Obama will be out of office in two years and this race is about a six-year Senate seat.

“This is about Alaska’s future. Not his, ours,” he told the 30 or so people gathered at a cooking school in a Mendenhall Valley strip mall before volunteers headed out in the rain.

The race is about issues like veterans’ care, reproductive rights and education, Begich said. There are sharp contrasts between him and Republican nominee Dan Sullivan, he said.

Republicans have sought to tie Begich to Obama, who lost Alaska by wide margins in 2008 and 2012. A recent example included material in the official state election pamphlet paid for by the Alaska Republican party. Near the back of the pamphlet, which includes candidate statements, details on ballot measures and other voting information, is a page paid for by the state GOP that says Begich’s record shows his loyalties are with Obama and cites what it says are examples.

Begich called it an attack ad and said he’s never seen something like it in the pamphlet. “That’s like putting a sign at the election booth, who to vote for,” he told reporters.

His spokesman, Max Croes, said Begich has a record of getting results and said many of the votes his opponents use to tie him to Obama are votes on matters like nominees for positions in the Obama administration.

Sullivan spokesman Thomas Reiker said by email that Begich is “furiously trying to erase his record of being in lockstep with President Obama.”

State GOP chairman Peter Goldberg said it’s the job of the Republican party to get Republicans elected.

“And when they’re facing a Democrat, in particular a Democrat who does not support our own principles and is voting with a liberal president and Senate majority leader, like President Obama and Harry Reid, it’s our job to do what we can to remove him from office,” Goldberg said.

State law allows political parties to pay for up to two pages of material to be included in the pamphlet, Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said by email. Nothing in the law limits what the parties may include, and the division is not allowed to police the content, Fenumiai said. Any changes to the rules would have to come from the Legislature, she added.

A second page by the GOP lays out the party’s beliefs. The Democratic and Libertarians each had one page. Democrats detailed issues they support; the Libertarians highlighted their beliefs and candidates.

The law requires that party pages include disclaimers noting they were paid for by the parties. All such pages in the pamphlet have the disclaimers.

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