Dan Sullivan is running for an Alaska Senate seat.
No, not the Dan Sullivan who’s currently the state’s junior senator.
This is another Alaska Republican named Dan Sullivan. The former mayor of Anchorage filed to run in the GOP primary against senior Sen. Lisa Murkowski at the last minute on Wednesday.
“One is not enough,” the former mayor joked to KTUU about the possibility of having two Dan Sullivans in the Senate.
Sullivan was the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014.
His last-minute decision to run for the Senate was motivated, he told KTUU, by a desire to “make sure conservative voters have a choice.”
But when pressed, Sullivan refused to elaborate on differences between himself and Murkowski.
“I won’t be directly criticizing Sen. Murkwoski. That won’t be part of the campaign,” he said, noting that the Murkowski family and his family are friends.
Murkowski ended the first quarter of 2016 with $3.3 million in cash on hand.
After she lost her 2010 GOP primary, and then barely squeaked by in a general election write-in campaign, Murkowski has long been preparing for a possible primary challenge this year.
“In the 2010 race, she was sleepwalking,” GOP strategist Willis Lyford, who has worked with Murkowski in the past, told CQ Roll Call last year.
“She’s a smart enough politician that that’s never going to happen to her again,” he said.
Those Republicans initially considering challenging her — 2014 nominee Joe Miller and state Sen. Mike Dunleavy — never filed.
But Alaska’s closed GOP primary tends to attract the most conservative voters, and Murkowski has a reputation for being among the more moderate Senate Republicans. The Club for Growth ranked her the third-lowest GOP senator in its 2015 scorecard.
Three other Republicans are also running in the Aug. 16 primary.
Anchorage immigration attorney Margaret Stock is running as an independent . Three Democrats are running, none of whom are likely to carry much weight in a seat the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rates Safe Republican .