Senator Begich pulls campaign commercial
using grisly murder, rape
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[September 03, 2014]
By Steve Quinn
JUNEAU Alaska (Reuters) - Alaska Democrat
Mark Begich has canceled a re-election campaign attack commercial citing
grisly murders and child rape after the victims' family complained, the
latest standoff in a key race for Republicans' bid to recapture control
of the U.S. Senate.
The commercial, which aired on Friday, featured an ex-Anchorage
police officer accusing Begich's Republican challenger Dan Sullivan,
Alaska's former Attorney General, of on-the-job mistakes that led to
sex offenders escaping with lighter sentences.
"One of them got out of prison and is now charged with breaking into
that apartment building, murdering a senior couple and sexually
assaulting their 2-year-old granddaughter," the police officer says
in the commercial as he stands near a crime scene.
Sullivan said the content was "shameful" in a quick response
advertisement that referenced the alleged murderer by name, saying
Begich used "heinous crimes for political gain."
The advertisements underscore the intensity of a race that was
bitterly fought before the Aug. 19 primary election in which
Sullivan, a former state natural resources commissioner backed by
former U.S. President George W. Bush, won the nomination to face
Begich in November's general election.
Republicans have long believed the seat belongs to them, especially
since Begich claimed a narrow 2008 win a few weeks after a jury
convicted former Senator Ted Stevens on federal corruption charges.
That conviction was set aside before sentencing amid prosecutorial
A lawyer representing the victims' family, Bryon Collins, told
Reuters he learned of the ads over the weekend and asked both
campaigns to take their advertisements off the air.
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Collins said he asked both campaigns not to interject politics into
an ongoing criminal case and that they let the justice system run
"We've asked the Begich campaign and the Sullivan campaign to do the
same and they've complied with that," Collins said.
Begich's campaign said it would recast the commercial, then
ultimately pulled it. By Monday morning both spots were taken off
(Reporting by Steve Quinn in Juneau, Alaska; Writing by Eric M.
Johnson; Editing by Ken Wills)
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