Murkowski sends 'cease and desist' letter to Begich over ad

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) isn't happy about Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) using her in his latest campaign ad — and has called in her lawyers to try to force Begich to stop airing it.

Murkowski's campaign lawyers sent a "cease and desist" letter to Begich's campaign Thursday demanding that the ad be pulled down.

"We are writing on the [Murkowski campaign] committee's behalf to demand that Alaskans for Begich immediately cease any broadcast and/or web hosting of the television spot entitled 'Great Team,' " writes attorney Scott Kendall in the letter. "This advertisement is factually incorrect. It also misuses Senator Murkowski's image, and implies her support, without her permission — and, in fact, over her known objections."

Begich has repeatedly spoken of similarities between his voting record and Murkowski's to show his independence in the Republican-leaning state, and touted their work together on issues — moves that have increasingly irritated Murkowski as the campaign has worn on.

She'd already expressed her frustration at his use of her name when the ad first began running last week calling them a "great team" and touting their overlapping positions.

Murkowski's move is the strongest signal yet that she'll work hard to defeat him this fall once Republicans choose a nominee in the state. She has particular pull with Alaska's large native communities, a key voting bloc in the race that Begich needs to do very well with to win the race.

Alaska is a top GOP target, and if the Senate flips this fall, Murkowski is in line to become the chairwoman of the powerful Senate Energy Committee.

Begich's campaign fired back, giving no sign they'll pull the ad. A spokesman pointed out that Murkowski didn't take issue with the ad's claim that the two vote together 80 percent of the time and that she hasn't complained at all while Alaska GOP front-runner Dan Sullivan (R) used her in ads the last few months.

"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 spokesman Max Croes said. "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."

—This post was updated at 2:55 p.m. 

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