Alaska Republicans focus on social issues in Senate debate

Alaska's three Senate candidates all tacked right on social issues during a Monday night debate, touting their opposition to legal abortion and same-sex marriage at a debate focused on the topics.

Former Alaska Department of Natural Resources director Dan Sullivan (R) said he opposed legal abortion except in the cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life was at risk. In those situations he indicated he was personally opposed to them but believed people should make their own choices.

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"That does not mean that I'm supportive of abortions in those situations," Sullivan said. “But because they're so, such horrendous situations, in support for the victim in those kind of situations of rape or incest, it’s also important from my perspective, that's something where the family should be making the decision on."

Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R) and 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller (R) put themselves to Sullivan's right on abortion. Miller said he opposed legal abortion in all cases, while Treadwell's only caveat was when the mother's life was at stake.

All three also support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has been vocally supportive of abortion rights during his campaign, seeking to win over female voters in the libertarian-leaning state. His campaign blasted the Republicans following the debate.

"The unfortunate loser of today's debate is Alaska women, who are watching Mead Treadwell, Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller race to restrict their access to birth control, allow bosses to make health care decisions for them and invade their privacy," said Begich campaign manager Susanne Fleek-Green.

Begich also announced his campaign had raised $420,000 in July in the lead-up to the mid-August primary. His opponents have yet to announce how much they raised in that period.

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