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Manchin Heading to Alaska for Begich Fundraiser

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., will travel to Anchorage this weekend to campaign for Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska., according to multiple sources in both camps familiar with the trip.  

Manchin will appear at two fundraisers at the home of former Democratic Gov. Bill Sheffield, each with a different suggested contribution level. Sources would not confirm the specific, suggested dollar amounts. The events are co-hosted by Sheffield and Wally Hickel Jr., son of former Gov. Wally Hickel.  

Manchin, who has a penchant for state fairs , also will appear at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 2014 Anchorage Fur Rendezvous (aka "Fur Rondy"), the annual 10-day festival kicking off the famous Iditarod race.  

"Senator Manchin will be in Alaska to support Senator Begich because he believes he is the independent-minded Senator who always fights for Alaska and will help move our country forward,” a Manchin campaign spokesman said in an email.  

Last year, Begich hosted freshman Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., at the state-fair-like dog sled race celebration. In previous years, the Alaska Democrat has brought in Jon Tester, D-Mont., and the late Daniel K. Inouye, according to a Begich campaign aide.  

The aide said Begich believes it's important to "bring fellow senators up to Alaska to give them an idea of what it's like" and showcase the specific needs and challenges the Last Frontier State faces.  

Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a moderate, red state Democrat like Manchin to headline fundraising events.  

Manchin and Begich have similar legislative profiles, though Begich notably was one of four Democrats to oppose Manchin's failed bipartisan background checks bill in 2013 — and that could be an interesting topic of questioning from donors or local reporters when the two appear together.  

Roll Call/Rothenberg Report ranks the Alaska Senate race as a Tossup/Tilt Democrat.