Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan waves a sign at a busy intersection in Anchorage, Alaska. Sen. Sullivan on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, won reelection in Alaska, defeating independent Al Gross. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)

Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan waves a sign at a busy intersection in Anchorage, Alaska. Sen. Sullivan on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, won reelection in Alaska, defeating independent Al Gross. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)

Senate race called for Sullivan

Republican senator wins reelection.

  • By BECKY BOHRER Associated Press
  • Wednesday, November 11, 2020 12:35pm
  • NewsElection 2020

By BECKY BOHRER

Associated Press

Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan has won reelection in Alaska, defeating independent Al Gross in a race that attracted outside attention with control of the Senate at stake.

The race had been determined too early to call on Election Day Nov. 3 due to a large number of outstanding absentee ballots. Election officials began counting more than 150,000 absentee and other ballots on Tuesday.

The result in Alaska means that control of the Senate won’t be decided until January Senate runoffs are held in Georgia.

The Gross campaign on Wednesday did not indicate it was immediately ready to concede after The Associated Press called the race for Sullivan.

“With so many Alaskans voices needing to be heard, we’ll continue to monitor the race as results come in and assess tonight,” Gross’ campaign manager, David Keith, said in a statement.

Indiana Sen. Todd Young, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in a statement congratulated Sullivan, calling him a man “who has championed the unique needs of his state in Washington.”

Sullivan’s campaign manager did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Republicans in the top-tier races on Alaska’s ballot — President Donald Trump, Sullivan and U.S. Rep. Don Young — held largely similar vote counts, and advantages, when Election Day results and early votes through Oct. 29 were tallied.

The Associated Press called all three races for the Republican incumbents on Wednesday, after initial results from absentee and other ballot counts were released late Tuesday. The counting continued Wednesday.

Sullivan had predicted he would win. Gross, who said his campaign encouraged Alaskans to vote absentee, had urged patience in seeing the through the counting of votes.

Sullivan during the campaign questioned Gross’ independent label and sought to tie him to Democratic members of Congress that Sullivan cast as out-of-touch with Alaska issues. Gross, who won the Democratic nomination but said he wouldn’t be beholden to the party, called Sullivan a Trump “yes man.”

The largest bloc of registered voters in Alaska identify as independents, though the state has leaned Republican, sending one Democrat to the Senate since 1980: Mark Begich. Begich, who served a term, narrowly lost to Sullivan in 2014, another year when Senate control was at stake.

Financial disclosures through mid-October showed Gross had raised $16.9 million, compared to $9.8 million for Sullivan this election cycle.

Sullivan on election night said a takeaway from reelection wins by colleagues, such as Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Joni Ernst of Iowa “is a theme that I think’s going to be the theme of our race, which is, all the money in the world can’t buy an election.”

[With absentee ballots uncounted, many races too close too call]

This year saw an unprecedented level of interest in absentee voting in Alaska, prompting Keith last week to declare Sullivan’s lead in early returns could be overtaken. Sullivan’s campaign press secretary, Nate Adams, on Twitter expressed skepticism.

“The only state bigger than Alaska is the state of denial @DrAlGrossAK is in,” he posted last Thursday.

Gross and other critics of Sullivan sought to make Sullivan’s ties to President Donald Trump an issue. Sullivan said the Trump administration has been a partner with the state and pointed to investments in the military and rural law enforcement and moves to ease or lift restrictions on federal lands for oil and gas drilling and logging.

Sullivan defended changing his tune on advancing an election-year Supreme Court nominee from opposition to President Barack Obama’s pick of Merrick Garland in early 2016 to confirming Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett last month.

Sullivan accused Gross of getting rich off a health care system Gross seeks to change. Gross, who in 2017 wrote in support of a single-payer health care system, said articles he wrote on the issue were meant to draw attention to Alaska’s high health-care costs and not intended to viewed as the policy he would advance as a senator.

Gross said he worked hard in his practice as an orthopedic surgeon and increasingly got involved in health care advocacy after seeing what he called injustices in the system. He said he supports a public option for individuals and small businesses on the health insurance exchange.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Nanibaa’ Frommherz, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, testifies about a proposal to help the Juneau School District with its financial crisis during a Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night at City Hall. The meeting was moved from the Assembly Chambers to a conference room toward the end due to technical errors that disrupted the live online feed.
Little public reaction to city’s bailout of school district this year, but big questions beyond loom

Only two people testify Monday about proposed $4.1M loan and taking over $3.9 in “shared costs.”

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Mauka Grunenberg looks at live oysters for sale on Aug. 29, 2022, at Sagaya City Market in Anchorage. The oysters came from a farm in Juneau. Oysters, blue mussels and sugar, bull and ribbon kelp are the main products of an Alaska mariculture industry that has expanded greatly in recent years. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska’s mariculture industry expands, with big production increases in recent years, report says

While Alaska’s mariculture industry is small by global standards, production of farmed… Continue reading

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola (center) walks with Alaska Rep. Will Stapp, R-Fairbanks, and Alaska Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, into the Alaska House of Representatives chambers ahead of her annual address to the Alaska Legislature on Monday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Peltola celebrates federal intervention in Albertsons, Kroger merger in legislative address

Congresswoman says wins for Alaska’s fisheries and state’s economy occurring through collaboration.

Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, speaks in support of Senate concurrence on a version of an education bill passed by the Alaska House last week during a Senate floor discussion on Monday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Senate concurs on House education bill, Dunleavy is skeptical

Dunleavy schedules press conference Tuesday afternoon in Anchorage to discuss the legislation.

A photo by Ben Huff being exhibited as part of his presentation at 6:30 p.m. at the Alaska State Museum. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska State Museum)
Here’s what’s happening for First Friday in March

Both the state and city museums are celebrating 20 years of artistic… Continue reading

Goose Creek Correctional Center is seen in fall. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Corrections)
Alaska prison failed to provide adequate dental care to inmates, state investigator finds

Goose Creek Correctional Center has gone years without a hygienist, forcing patients to wait

Jirdes Winther Baxter chats with Wayne Bertholl during her 100th birthday celebration Saturday at the Juneau Yacht Club. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Jirdes Winther Baxter, last survivor of 1925 Nome serum run, celebrates 100th birthday in Juneau

Five generations of family, dozens of friends and a coalition of political leaders offer tributes.

Most Read