Senate candidate Dan Sullivan on top issues for voters

Heated race brewing in Alaska


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 15, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, to one of the closely watched Senate races, Alaska Republican candidate Dan Sullivan.

We did put out a call to his incumbent Democratic opponent, Senator Mark Begich, who is not available. Hope springs eternal, as I always say. We hope to get him.

Dan, in the meantime, this is getting to be a horse race now. Is the economy the issue up there? I mean, there is all this mud-throwing back and forth with you guys, but how would you describe it?

DAN SULLIVAN, R-ALASKA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: You know, Neil, I think it's what professor Sabato was talking about.

The sense in Alaska among way more than just Republicans, a very broad- based sense, is the country is fundamentally going in the wrong direction. I see it everywhere on the campaign trail. And it's not a mystery why. We have a federal government that has overreached in so many different parts of our lives up in Alaska.

And then you have a Congress that passes huge bills. Nobody reads them. And then agencies put out a flood of regulations that are really stifling the economic potential of Alaskans, of our country.

But I do think there is this -- there is a sense though that we can turn things around. And one area that is really important we need to seize is the area of energy. You know, we have huge opportunities in this country, in Alaska, to become the world's energy superpower again, which would benefit this country tremendously.

What we need is a federal government that is a partner in seizing that opportunity, not an obstacle, and right now they're clearly an obstacle.

CAVUTO: Well, what do Alaskans say? They also have one of the most beautiful states in the country, as you know.

SULLIVAN: Oh, absolutely.

CAVUTO: And it's wonderful. And they say, we want to protect that and we don't want to compromise that. What do you say?

SULLIVAN: Well, look, Alaska has a great record of doing both, of developing our resources responsibly and protecting our environment.

CAVUTO: Well, you might, but they also remember about the Valdez incident and they say, well, outside interests can destroy our beauty.

SULLIVAN: Well, look, most -- again, most Alaskans live there. We're the last people who want to soil our own nest. Right?

CAVUTO: Right.

SULLIVAN: We have the highest standards in the world with regard to protecting the environment, and -- but it's very important in terms of jobs, in terms of the economy, as professor Sabato talked about, the future of our kids.

And we have a very a strong of being able to do both. And that's where the vast majority of Alaskans are. The vast majority of Alaskans, for example, want to open and explore in ANWR, about 75 percent of Alaskans.

CAVUTO: Is that right?

SULLIVAN: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you about Sarah Palin and her role, if any, in your campaign. There's been kind of a hands-off approach.

SULLIVAN: Yes, it's been a bit of a hands-off approach.

CAVUTO: Are you OK with that or...

SULLIVAN: Well, you know, as I have said, look, I'm -- I'm always interested in getting supporters throughout not only Republicans, but other members of the Alaska public.


CAVUTO: But you're not a Tea Party guy, per se, right?

SULLIVAN: Well, I was Governor Palin's attorney general.

CAVUTO: That's right.

SULLIVAN: So, I worked closely with Governor Palin.

And we're...


CAVUTO: But would you describe yourself as a Tea Partier or...

SULLIVAN: Well, you know, if the Tea Party is about less government, more freedom, fighting the federal government's overreach into our lives, taking care of veterans, which is a lot of what Tea Party members are, that's my record in Alaska as attorney general, as the commissioner of natural resources.


CAVUTO: But your state is famous for getting nasty in battles. And your opponent if already I think in one case in a series of ads I think trying to connect you to a nefarious character, but back and forth.

No debates planned to deal with this or...


SULLIVAN: Oh, no, we have plenty of debates planned.


SULLIVAN: We have already had one debate. A week after I won the primary...


CAVUTO: But, I mean, how -- when these personal issues come up, will it be just about the soap opera? How do you deal with that and how will he counter that?

SULLIVAN: Well, look, one of the things that we're very focused on in our race is, you mentioned the Democrats -- the Democrats, Mark Begich, Harry Reid, have been purely negative. We have been running a campaign that is focused on the big issues, the future.


CAVUTO: But you linked Begich with Reid and everything, right? That's been the strategy.

SULLIVAN: Oh, and President Obama, right?


SULLIVAN: The reason that they're running these negative ads is Mark Begich doesn't have a record to run on.

When you vote with Barack Obama 97 percent of the time, when you are one of Harry Reid's loyal foot soldiers, in the Harry Reid Senate leadership, you don't brag about that in Alaska, because you will lose. You attack your opponent personally.

But we're keeping it about the big issues and people's records. I'm running on my record.

CAVUTO: All right.

SULLIVAN: And Mark Begich, unfortunately for him, has to run on his record.

CAVUTO: We shall watch closely, Dan Sullivan.

Again to Senator Begich, who was on our show a while back, but he was on our show, you're always welcome to come, balance this out.

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