In Alaska’s tight race for the U.S. Senate, Republican Dan Sullivan claimed victory Wednesday, a week after elections gave his party control of the Senate and strengthened its grip on the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sullivan, a 49-year-old former state attorney general and natural resources commissioner, was leading his Democrat opponent, Senator Mark Begich, by 7,911 votes on Tuesday night. He announced the win early Wednesday.
"From Day One, we told our supporters that we would run a campaign that Alaskans could be proud of and that's what we did," Sullivan said.
Begich could not immediately be reached for comment.
Alaska election officials on Tuesday tallied thousands of ballots cast by absentee and early voters, as well as people who voted at the wrong polling places. More votes will be counted in coming days. Officials said they hoped to certify the results by Nov. 28.
"Every Alaskan deserves to have their vote counted and their voice heard in this election," Begich campaign spokesman Max Croes said Tuesday.
Begich had been slipping in polls since mid-summer. His campaign touted his deep roots in Alaska, where he was born and raised, while portraying Sullivan, born in Ohio, as an outsider.
Begich was narrowly elected in 2008 a few weeks after a jury convicted former Republican Senator Ted Stevens on federal corruption charges, a conviction that was later set aside by a federal judge who cited prosecutorial misconduct.
VOA Editor's note: This Reuters story previously indicated that the Dan Sullivan claiming victory in the U.S. Senate race is the same person who is currently the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska. Thank you to our readers who pointed out that Anchorage's mayor is a different Dan Sullivan.