JUNEAU, Alaska — Independent U.S. Senate candidate Margaret Stock has won the endorsement of the last Alaska Democrat to hold the office.
Stock said Friday that she’s grateful for the support of former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and a group of southeast Alaska Democrats who are favoring her over their party’s nominee, Ray Metcalfe.
Begich said Metcalfe is failing to galvanize support within the party and said he cannot support him. Last week, Interior Democrats voted to back Stock and on Thursday, the Tongass Democrats, which represent part of southeast Alaska, followed suit.
Metcalfe said he would have declined Begich’s endorsement if he had been offered it, seeing Begich as part of a corrupted political culture.
Brenda Knapp, vice chair of the Tongass Democrats, said Alaska Democrats have been embracing independents who share the party’s values for some time. Stock is running a serious campaign and making a serious effort to talk with Alaskans about what she stands for, Knapp said.
“Given the energy and time commitment and so forth that she’s putting into her campaign, we feel that she’s worthy of our support,” Knapp said.
Democrats earlier this year flirted with the idea of allowing independents to run in Democratic primaries but that never came to fruition.
Stock is participating in the Democrats’ coordinated campaign, which provides access to voter information and other services.
Begich said Stock offers an independent view that would be valuable in the Senate.
He said he’s never been strictly beholden to party in deciding which candidate to support. At times in the past, Begich said, he’s even written-in names. “You should support who you think is going to do the job that you hope they would do,” he said.
The Senate race also features incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski and Libertarian Joe Miller, each of whom have also picked up endorsements. This week, for example, Murkowski’s campaign released a list of mayors around the state who are supporting Murkowski. Miller, meanwhile, has touted support from groups like the conservative Alaska Family Action.
Miller beat Murkowski in the 2010 Republican primary, only to see her keep her job by waging a successful general election write-in campaign.
Several officers with the state Republican party recently resigned their posts so they could publicly back Miller in his run this year.
Begich said Murkowski has the edge in the race, noting her name recognition, money and campaign organization. “But the dynamics are different than I’ve ever seen in the politics in Alaska,” he said, deeming the race tough to predict.
This story has been corrected to show Joe Miller is running as a Libertarian.