In what's likely the first congressional endorsement by an Olympian in 2014, snowboarder Ryan Stassel has left the winter games in Russia and returned home to Anchorage, where he will formally endorse Alaska Senate candidate Mead Treadwell.
In a statement released Thursday by the Republican's campaign, the 21-year-old Stassel said he worked as a fisherman to support his dream of making the 2014 Winter Olympics and sees in Treadwell the same dedication it takes to become an Olympian. He also trumpeted the campaign's argument that Treadwell, currently the state's lieutenant governor, is the true Alaskan in the Republican primary. "I know Mead is the person that will help make Alaska a better place and I am happy to support his campaign," said Stassel, who failed to qualify for the finals in the slopestyle snowboarding event. "I know he will fight to improve the state that allowed me to achieve my dreams. As an Alaskan, I know that Mead is a fellow Alaskan that truly encompasses the Alaskan spirit."
Treadwell is one of three Republicans vying to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. However, he had less than $100,000 in his campaign account as of Dec. 31, more than $1 million less than his leading GOP opponent, former state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan.
The race is rated Tossup/Tilts Democratic by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.