Sullivan wins reelection in Alaska, giving Republicans 50 seats in Senate
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) on Wednesday was projected to have won a second term representing Alaska, securing 50 seats in the Senate for Republicans in the next Congress.
CNN and NBC News both called the race shortly before 10 a.m. EST.
The projection confirms that control of the Senate will come down to two Jan. 5 runoffs in Georgia, one between Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) and the Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) and the other between Sen. David Perdue (R) and Jon Ossoff (D).
The loss marked another state where Democrats failed to unseat Republicans in seats seen as closely contested. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) all won reelection in states highly targeted by Democrats.
Sullivan defeated Al Gross, an independent who was backed by national Democrats in their effort to flip the seat. Gross is a former orthopedic surgeon and commercial fisherman and is the son of former Alaska Attorney General Avrum Gross (D).
Polls had consistently shown Sullivan narrowly leading in the race, but outside groups poured millions of dollars in the lead-up to Election Day as some surveys showed the race would be competitive.
Throughout the campaign, Sullivan swatted away attacks that he was tied too closely to President Trump, an argument Democrats hoped would influence voters in a state that prizes its independent tilt. He excoriated Gross for what he said were exaggerated claims to independence and close ties to Democrats.
As recently as Tuesday, Gross tweeted that more than 100,000 ballots were outstanding in the race, adding “we can win this.”
More than 100,000 ballots left to count. 30% of the vote not counted out there! We can win this. #AlwaysAlaska
— Dr. Al Gross (@DrAlGrossAK) November 11, 2020
“I want to congratulate my fellow Marine, Senator Dan Sullivan on his victory. Alaskans know Dan as a man who always puts service before self and who has championed the unique needs of his state in Washington,” National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) said in a statement. “The state will be well served with another six years of his representation.”
Media outlets also called Alaska for President Trump shortly after the call was made for Sullivan.
Updated at 10:19 a.m.