The relationship between Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) appears to be a bit chilly.
A Murkowski attorney sent a "cease and desist" letter Thursday demanding that Begich's campaign take down an ad featuring a photo of the two senators standing together. Begich, who is one of the more vulnerable Democratic incumbents up for re-election this year, has been promoting his record of voting with Murkowski.
However, the letter from Murkowski's legal representative argues that they didn't give permission for his campaign to use her image. It also argues that the man talking up Begich's record in the ad isn't actually a "lifelong Republican," as he claims.
“The advertisement is factually incorrect,” the letter reads. “It also misuses Senator Murkowski’s image, and implies her support, without her permission -- and in fact, over her known objections."
“Senator Murkowski has repeatedly made clear that she wants a Republican elected to Alaska’s other Senate seat,” the letter continues. “Senator Begich should run on his own record and not attempt to deceive the public into believing he has support that does not exist.”
The photo flame-up continues an awkward trend between the two senators. After Begich sent out a press release touting that he and Murkowski both voted to advance a July bill that would have required all for-profit companies to cover birth control regardless of the owners' religious beliefs, Murkowski asked to be removed from the release, arguing that she had only voted to proceed with debate on the bill but not for its final passage.
In response to the letter from Murkowski's legal team, Begich's campaign insisted that the ad represented a trend Alaskans appreciate.
“Alaskans have responded positively to the message that Alaska’s congressional delegation works together across party lines to do what’s best for Alaska,” Begich Communications Director Max Croes said in a statement. "Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich vote together as much as 80 percent of the time and more than any other Democrat-Republican pair in the U.S. Senate, a fact proven by an independent fact check organization."
Begich will know whom he will face in November after Alaska’s Republican primary Aug. 19.