THE BLOG
10/17/2014 02:19 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mark Begich vs. Dan Sullivan -- Nonpartisan Candidate Guide For Alaska Senate Race 2014

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Are you looking for a nonpartisan voter guide to the Mark Begich vs. Dan Sullivan Senate race? One that will give you an unbiased, no-spin comparison of candidate positions on key issues? That's what our Campus Election Engagement Project guide will give you! We are a national nonpartisan initiative working with college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders to increase student participation in America's elections. For the 2014 elections we have created and distributed voter guides to campuses in over 20 states so they can provide their communities with accurate information for informed voting. Because these guides have been so well received and are useful for all voting citizens who want to be better informed, we are also posting them here.

We developed our guides by analyzing information from trusted resources such as www.votesmart.org, www.ontheissues.org, www.ballotpedia.com, www.politifact.com, www.factcheck.org, www.vote411.org and from candidate websites, public debates and interviews, and statements in major media outlets. We also showed them to groups like campus Young Republicans and Young Democrats at the schools we work with to verify their fairness and lack of bias.

So here are the issue-by-issue stands for Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan, with additional links at the bottom for each candidate if you'd like to dig deeper. (You can also find Alaska's Governor's guide here.)

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Budget: Did you support raising the Federal debt ceiling with no strings attached?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: No

Budget: Do you support a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment?
Begich: Yes, with limits on tax breaks for millionaires (See Begich supports balanced budget amendment.)
Sullivan: Unknown

Campaign Finance: Do you support the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allowed unlimited independent political expenditures by corporations and unions?
Begich: No
Sullivan: Yes

Economy: Do you support raising the minimum wage?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: Opposed Alaska state minimum wage initiative during primary, but now supports it. Opposes a Federal increase. (See Sullivan supports state minimum wage boost he once opposed)

Economy: Do you support extending unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: No

Economy: Do you support the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and sought to increase regulation of Wall Street corporations and other financial institutions?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: No

Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Begich: Mixed, but generally yes.
Sullivan: Unknown

Education: Do you support refinancing of student loans at lower rates, paid for by increasing taxes on income over a million dollars?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: Unknown

Environment: Do you believe that human activity is a major factor contributing to climate change?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: Yes in 2008, but recently stated there is no scientific consensus on the extent of human influence. (See articles from U.S. Department of State Archives, The Hill, and Alaska Dispatch News)

Environment: Do you support government action to limit the levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere?
Begich: Yes but has pushed back on actions affecting Alaska. Opposes carbon tax. (See Alaska elected leaders differ on cause of and response to climate change)
Sullivan: No

Environment: Do you support government mandates and/or subsidies for renewable energy?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: Has previously supported investment in renewables, but current position not clear.

Environment: Do you support Measure 4, limiting Bristol Bay mining if determined to be harmful to wild salmon?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: Position ambiguous--has challenged environmental regulation of the mine but says has never directly supported the mine. (See Begich vs. Sullivan debate on fisheries issue)

Gay Marriage: Do you support gay marriage?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: No

Gun Control: Do you support enacting more restrictive gun control legislation?
Begich: No
Sullivan: No

Healthcare: Do you support repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?
Begich: No
Sullivan: Yes

Healthcare: Did you support shutting down the federal government in order to defund Obamacare in 2013?
Begich: No
Sullivan: Unknown. As State Attorney General, sued the federal government to dismantle Obamacare as unconstitutional

Immigration: Do you support the D.R.E.A.M. Act, which would allow children brought into the country illegally to achieve legal status if they've graduated from high school, have a clean legal record, and attend college or serve in the military?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: Unknown

Immigration: Do you support the comprehensive immigration plan passed by the Senate in 2013, which includes a pathway to citizenship and increased funding for border security?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: Supports increased border security. Refused to sign pledge to oppose all efforts for "amnesty."

Iraq: Should the US recommit troops to Iraq to combat the rise in insurgency?
Begich: No
Sullivan: Would consider the possibility of troop commitments in certain situations

Marijuana: Do you support efforts to decriminalize and/or legalize marijuana?
Begich: Has concerns but will defend Measure 2 if passed
Sullivan: No. Opposes Measure 2

Social Issues: Should abortion be highly restricted?
Begich: No
Sullivan: Yes

Social Issues: Should employers be able to withhold contraceptive coverage from employees if they disagree with it morally?
Begich: No
Sullivan: Yes

Social Issues: Should Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion health services?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: No

Social Security: Do you support partial privatization of Social Security?
Begich: No
Sullivan: No / Contested (See Alaska Dispatch News article for more details on his views.)

Taxes: Have you signed the Americans for Tax Reform Pledge to oppose any tax increases to raise revenue? (The answer to this question is taken from the database of signatories of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, created by Americans for Tax Reform. Signers to the pledge promise to oppose "any and all tax increases" meant to generate additional revenue.)
Begich: No
Sullivan: Yes

Taxes: Would you increase taxes on corporations and/or high-income individuals to pay for public services?
Begich: Yes
Sullivan: No per Pledge signature above

Learn more about the candidates:
Mark Begich: Mark Begich Vote Smart pages and Mark Begich On the Issues pages
Sullivan: Dan Sullivan Vote Smart pages and Dan Sullivan On the Issues pages

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Note: Other senate candidates include Mark Fish (Libertarian) and Ted Gianoutsos (Independent). Due to limited space, we can't include their positions, but invite you to check out their websites.