Teachers Union Rallies To Embattled Dem Senator

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The president of a national teachers union is endorsing Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in his tough reelection fight.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) announced that their president, Randi Weingarten, will make the endorsement Saturday when she introduces Begich at the Alaska Public Employees Association’s biennial caucus, according to The Washington Times.

Weingarten’s endorsement for Begich comes right after a CNN poll, released Thursday, put the Democrat 6 points behind Republican challenger Dan Sullivan, a former state attorney general and an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves.

Begich trailed with 44 percent of the vote to Sullivan’s 50 percent. The poll also put Sullivan ahead, 50-45 percent, among voters in Anchorage, where Begich previously served as mayor. It also found that Begich fares no better among women voters than with men.

Begich is one of the Republicans’ main targets in their fight to pick up six Senate seats and take the majority. He has been positioning himself as an independent during his reelection.

Earlier this week, Begich released a radio ad to discuss Obamacare’s treatment of people with preexisting conditions and his own low-cost Copper Plan on the health exchanges.

“To me this is a critical core issue for Alaskans,” Begich said in the ad. “When I think about the health care law, frustrated, disappointed, you can put a lot of words towards it, but every day I work to try to fix it because the way Alaskans operate, we come together to learn how to solve the problems and move forward.”

The Sullivan campaign sees this endorsement as nothing more than Begich trying to secure his base as oppose to getting appealing to more voters.

“From my perspective, Dan has had a lot of crossover support,” a spokesman for the Sullivan campaign told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “[Begich] has given up on winning crossover voters.”

“I think this endorsement shows Mark is trying to reinforce his base,” the spokesman added. “That organization has probably endorsed a lot of Democrats.”

The campaign emphasized to TheDCNF that Sullivan would stand up against Common Core.

According to Open Secrets, the AFT has focused a lot of donations on keeping Democrats in control of the Senate. In 2013, they contributed $100,000 to the Senate Majority PAC, which is committed to “Protect and expand the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.”

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