Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is touting his support of increased oil and gas production and mining in Alaska in a new radio ad designed to put space between him and national Democrats.
Begich, facing a tough reelection battle, argues he's standing up against Washington in supporting more energy production in the state.
"Even though Washington keeps trying to stop Alaska from developing our natural resources, I'm pushing for more oil drilling and mining because it means thousands of new jobs that you can raise a family on, and because it’s our land, and we know best how to use it," Begich says in the ad.
Begich, whose reelection depends on convincing enough independents and Republicans that he's a centrist with Alaska's interests at heart, name-checks Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the ad, saying the two are working together to get new roads built to two mining sites. Murkowski won her reelection by running a write-in campaign as a centrist in 2010, after one of Begich's potential opponents, Joe Miller (R), defeated her in a primary upset.
Energy issues could be a major part of Begich's campaign — he's long carved his own path in supporting Alaska's energy production and has repeatedly criticized President Obama and national Democrats for their views on oil and gas production.
Former Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan (R) and Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R), Begich's other potential opponents, both have experience on the issue as well.