Board member takes issue with Sullivan endorsement

Associated PressJuly 9, 2014 

— A board member for the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. has taken issue with the organization's endorsement of Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Dan Sullivan.

Eugene Brower on Wednesday said members were polled individually on whether they supported Sullivan but a formal board vote wasn't taken. He said there is a distinction.

Brower said he was upset by a news release implying the full board supported Sullivan. He said he is a Democrat at heart who has voted Republican in the past. He said he supports Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who is seeking re-election, but he also is wary about taking sides in a primary.

A spokesman for the corporation, Ty Hardt, said individual board members are entitled to their own opinions. He said the organization stands behind its original announcement.

Hardt said he was sorry if there has been any confusion. But he said board members were polled, and the support for Sullivan was overwhelming.

The release, issued last week, said members of the board had taken the "unique step" of endorsing a U.S. Senate candidate. The release quoted board chairman Crawford Patkotak and corporation president and CEO Rex Rock Sr. touting Sullivan, a former state attorney general and Natural Resources commissioner, as the best pick.

Hardt said it was rare for the corporation to get involved in a race like this. But he said the organization wanted to ensure the strongest possible candidate is sent to Washington, D.C. He said he was not physically at the meeting but had spoken with leadership about what happened.

Brower said that when he received the news release, "I told them, 'No, no, you're implying the full board is supporting Dan Sullivan. That is not so.' "

"There are members of the board of directors that may be supporting Dan Sullivan, but not everybody is on the same page," he said.

Sullivan campaign manager Ben Sparks said in an email to The Associated Press that he found it troubling that the opinion of one dissenting member of the board was more newsworthy than the actual endorsement.

Sullivan is one of the highest-profile Republican contenders in the race, along with Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller. In a release earlier this week, Sullivan said he was honored to receive the endorsement.

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