ANCHORAGE — Alaska’s U.S. Senate race is drawing in big names as former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are heading to the state to rally support for Republican Dan Sullivan.
Sullivan’s campaign manager told the Alaska Dispatch News that Romney and Cruz offered their help in the closing days of a race that could decide control of the Senate.
A Romney aide said by email to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the campaigns for Sullivan and Republican Gov. Sean Parnell asked Romney to come to Alaska and he was happy to help.
Sullivan spokesman Thomas Reiker said by email that Sullivan is bringing together “a broad coalition of conservatives, independents and fiscally responsible Democrats with his vision of less government, more freedom. We are excited to spend the closing days of the race building on that grassroots support with two strong conservative leaders, Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Mitt Romney.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s campaign is casting the visits by Romney and Cruz as desperation by Sullivan, with Begich’s campaign manager, Susanne Fleek-Green, saying that Sullivan has relied on outside supporters to attack Begich and “prop up” his campaign.
During the primary, Sullivan said he would ally himself with the likes of Cruz and others in pushing for more limited government. Cruz is a tea party favorite.
Romney will appear at a get-out-the-vote rally with Sullivan and Parnell, whom he has endorsed, on Monday, Parnell’s campaign said.
“Like Governor Romney, I have fought to create more economic opportunity and strengthen our families,” Parnell said in a release. “I thank Governor Romney for his endorsement and look forward to his visit to Alaska next week.”
Parnell’s major opponent, independent candidate Bill Walker, said his campaign’s “star power” comes from Alaskans across the political spectrum.
“We don’t have outside PAC money coming in to persuade Alaskans to vote for a DC platform and we don’t have outside politicians telling Alaskans how to vote,” Walker said in a statement.
The Republican Governors Association is a major donor of a third-party group registered as “Citizens Against Walker.”
Third-party groups, whose donors include Alaska Native and labor interests, have been formed to support Walker, according to the Alaska Public Offices Commission.