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Independent candidate Dr. Al Gross is challenging Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan in Alaska this November.
Sullivan, a former clerk on multiple state and federal courts, has served as Alaska Attorney General and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner, and was first elected to the US Senate in 2014.
Sullivan has also served in the US Marine Corps since 1993 in multiple roles, and currently holds the rank of Colonel in the US Marine Corps Reserves. In Congress, he serves on the Committees on Armed Services, Commerce, and Transportation.
The senator has heavily focused his legislative efforts on sponsoring bills addressing military and veterans’ affairs and infrastructure, two key issues in Alaska. He’s voted in lockstep with President Donald Trump 97% of the time since 2017, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Gross, his opponent, is running as an independent but would caucus with Democrats if elected, similarly to independent Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine.
Gross, an Alaska native and son of former Alaska Attorney General Avrum Gross, is an orthopedic surgeon, commercial fisherman, and affordable healthcare advocate. He left his orthopedic surgery practice in 2013 to earn a master’s degree in public health and tackling some of the inequalities in Alaska’s healthcare system.
He’s campaigning on expanding healthcare access and lowering prescription drug costs, addressing climate change and protecting Alaska’s natural resources, and investing in Alaska’s infrastructure and economy.
While Gross would caucus with the Democrats, he’s created some distance between himself and some of the Democrats’ most liberal policies, including creating a Medicare for All system and the Green New Deal resolution on climate, prominently noting that he’s supportive of gun rights and even once killed a grizzly bear that snuck up on him.
Ad for Sen. @DanSullivan_AK (R) says “Liberal Al Gross will tell Alaskans anything to get elected” and shows Gross saying he would caucus with Democrats #aksen 2/2 pic.twitter.com/wquRx1Il50
— Greg Giroux (@greggiroux) September 4, 2020
In addition to winning back the White House, regaining control of the US Senate for the first time since 2015 is a top priority for Democrats and would be a major step towards either delivering on a future president Joe Biden’s policy goals or thwarting President Donald Trump’s second-term agenda.
Currently, the US Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents that caucus with Democrats, meaning that Democrats need to win back a net total of four seats to have a 51-seat majority (if Biden wins, his vice president would also serve as president of the Senate and would be a tie-breaker vote).
While Alaska has traditionally voted Republican at the statewide level, the state has a unique relationship to the federal government and a particularly independent-minded brand of politics where local issues and concerns about economic development, public lands, and the fishing and energy industries often take the forefront in campaigns.
The state also has a large population of Native Alaskan residents, a community facing their own unique challenges and needs, including economic opportunity, access to infrastructure, and …read more
Source:: Business Insider