|United States Senator
January 3, 2009
Serving with Lisa Murkowski
|Preceded by||Ted Stevens|
|Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska|
July 1, 2003 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||George Wuerch|
|Succeeded by||Matt Claman|
|Member of the Anchorage Assembly|
October 1988 – April 1998
|Preceded by||Brad Bradley|
|Succeeded by||Melinda Taylor|
|Born||Mark Peter Begich
March 30, 1962 
|Relations||Nick Begich (Father)|
|Alma mater||Steller Secondary School|
Born in Anchorage, Begich is the son of former U.S. Representative Nick Begich. He was elected to the Anchorage Assembly at age 26. He eventually served as chairman for three years, before leaving the Assembly in 1988. Begich ran two unsuccessful campaigns for mayor in 1994 and 2000 before being elected in 2003. In the 2008 Senate election, Begich defeated incumbent Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican member of the Senate of all time.
- 1 Early life, education and early political career
- 2 Mayor of Anchorage
- 3 U.S. Senate
- 4 Electoral history
- 5 Personal life
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Early life, education and early political career
Begich was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He is the son of Margaret Jean "Pegge" (née Jendro) and former U.S. Representative Nick Begich. His father disappeared in October 1972 during a flight from Anchorage to Juneau, Alaska with then U.S. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, but was reelected the next month, while missing, before both were declared legally dead.
The fourth of six children, he has two sisters and three brothers. His paternal grandparents were Croatian; his paternal grandfather John Begich immigrated to the United States from Austria–Hungary in 1911. His mother had Polish, Bohemian (Czech), Dutch, and English ancestry. He attended Steller Secondary School in Anchorage. As an adolescent, he opened an 18-and-under club called "The Motherlode." At 18, he had obtained a business license to sell jewelry and was helping his mother manage a number of real estate properties. Because of his business opportunities, he decided not to go to college. Begich is one of only two U.S. Senators without an undergraduate college degree. He has taken continuing education classes at University of Alaska Anchorage.
During the 1988 legislative session, Begich worked as a legislative aide for State Representative Dave Donley. At 19, he started working in the Anchorage city health department and later worked as a driver for then-Anchorage Mayor Tony Knowles. Begich was elected to the Anchorage Assembly in 1988, at age 26, and served until 1998, including three years as chairman and two as vice chairman.
Begich served for a number of years on the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, including as its chair. In 2001, Governor Tony Knowles appointed Begich to the University of Alaska Board of Regents, but the legislature did not confirm the appointment.
Mayor of Anchorage
He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1994 against Rick Mystrom, and in 2000 against then-Assemblyman George Wuerch. In the 2003 mayoral race he narrowly defeated both Mystrom and Wuerch, earning only 11 votes over the number needed to without a runoff, despite a simultaneously approved law increasing the threshold needed to avoid such a runoff election from 40 to 45 percent. He was re-elected in April 2006, winning against local advertising and radio personality Jack Frost. Though the office is officially nonpartisan, Begich was the first Democrat to be elected Mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage since Tony Knowles.
On February 27, 2008, Begich announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for the United States Senate. After winning the Democratic nomination, he went on to face Republican incumbent Ted Stevens in the general election. Begich was ahead in polls prior to the election. During the campaign, Stevens faced a multiple count indictment on ethics and corruption charges.
On October 27, 2008, eight days before the general election, Stevens was found guilty by a Washington D.C. federal jury on seven felony counts.
Alaska Republican Party chairman, Randy Ruedrich, issued a call for Begich to resign so a special election could be held. Despite the fact that the charges had been brought by the Bush Administration, Ruedrich argued that Begich's win was illegitimate because of "improper influence from the corrupt Department of Justice." The same day Governor Sarah Palin seconded Ruedrich's call, although she later denied having said Begich should resign.
Begich said he intended to serve his full six-year term.
On November 18, 2008, the Associated Press called the election for Begich, who was leading and likely to win by more than the 0.5% margin needed to trigger an automatic recount, with the remainder of uncounted ballots originating from the Anchorage area. Stevens conceded the race the next day.
Begich is up for re-election in 2014. He faced William Bryk in the Democratic primary on August 19, 2014, winning 96.7% of the vote. Candidates in the closed Republican primary included Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell, who received 25% of the vote; former Alaska Attorney General and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Daniel S. Sullivan, who won with 40%; 2010 U.S. Senate nominee Joe Miller (32%); and John Jaramillo (3%). Alaska's 2014 U.S. Senate race is considered one of the most competitive congressional races in the nation, with the Cook Political Report rating it a "toss-up."
In August 2014, shortly before the Senate primary, Lisa Murkowski, who serves alongside Begich in the U.S. Senate, objected to Begich's use of her image in a campaign advertisement titled "Great Team." Murkowski's law firm sent a cease-and-desist letter, calling the advertisement "factually incorrect." According to Politico, "Begich, running in deep-red Alaska, has sought on several occasions to highlight shared positions with Murkowski. But she is distancing herself."
According to the New York Times, Alaska's 2014 U.S. Senate race is "potentially pivotal" and "nationally watched." The New York Times reported that in a bid to keep his seat, "Begich will try to attract rural voters and supporters of abortion rights." According to the Washington Post, Begich is campaigning on the idea of expanding Social Security benefits. According to the Washington Post, "Begich is one of a small but growing group of Democratic lawmakers who support the idea of lifting or changing the payroll tax cap, so higher earners pay more, while adopting a new measure for inflation that would increase benefits for all seniors."
In August 2014, Begich released an ad that criticized his opponent Sullivan for being soft on sex offenders while he was serving as a state attorney. The ad referenced the homicide of an Anchorage, Alaska couple and the sexual assault of their granddaughter suggesting that the perpetrator, a previous sex offender, was released early because of Sullivan. That claim was proven to be false by fact checkers. The ad was criticized for being inappropriate. Begich pulled the ad from Alaska television stations following demands from the victims' family that the ad was both insensitive and threatened prosecution of a criminal suspect.
Begich is pro-choice, supports same-sex marriage, and supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He opposes the Patriot Act and claims to "generally" oppose the death penalty.
In 2008, Begich supported the creation of a national cap-and-trade system for controlling greenhouse gas emissions. In 2010, he signed a letter advocating the establishment of a 'price' for greenhouse gas emissions as part of national energy policy. Begich has stated that this should not be interpreted as support for a carbon tax.
Begich supported President Barack Obama's health reform legislation: he voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and he voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
In 2012, Begich introduced a bill called the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act. The bill would have lifted the payroll tax cap, raising taxes on those who earn $110,100 or more per year. It did not pass.
Along with the other members of the Alaska delegation, Begich received campaign contributions from a lobbyist representing a rural utility company after they supported federal subsidies to the company for geothermal power development.
On April 28, 2014, Begich introduced the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2014 (S. 2258; 113th Congress), a bill that would, beginning on December 1, 2014, increase the rates of veterans' disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet
- Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion
- Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard (Chair)
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Committee on Indian Affairs
- Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Anchorage Assembly, Seat H 1995
- Mark Begich, 52%
- Steven Fowler, 40%
- Edward Robbins, 5%
Anchorage Mayor, 1994
- Rick Mystrom, 58.0%
- Mark Begich, 42.0%
Anchorage Mayor, 2000
- Mark Begich, 40%
- George Wuerch, 20%
- Jack Frost, 18%
- Bob Bell, 10%
- Dave Donley, 4%
- Pete Kott, 4%
- Theresa Obermeyer, 2%
- 3 others, 2%
- George Wuerch, 52%
- Mark Begich, 47%
Anchorage Mayor, 2003
- Mark Begich, 45%
- George Wuerch, 37%
- Rick Mystrom, 15%
- David Dunsmore, 1%
- 7 others, 2%
|Anchorage Mayor, 2006
Regular election, April 4, 2006
|Thomas Mark Higgins||431||0.61%|
|2008 Alaska U.S. Senate Democratic primary election|
|2008 U.S. Senate election, Alaska|
|Alaskan Independence||Bob Bird||13,197||4.15||+1.22|
- "Mark Begich (D)". U.S. Congress Votes Database. Washington Post. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Atwood, Evangeline; DeArmond, Robert N. (1977). Who's Who in Alaskan Politics. Portland: Binford & Mort for the Alaska Historical Commission. p. 6.
- "Ted Stevens, Longest-Serving GOP Senator, Dead". CBS Interactive. August 10, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
- Davis, Susan (2014-08-24). "Alaska wants a fighter in the U.S. Senate". USA Today. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Murphy, Kim. "Begich ends low-key approach". Los Angeles Times. November 20, 2008.
- Begich, Tom. (2006-04-30). "Tom Begich: Politics first" Interviewed by Judy Ferguson. Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-04-04. Tom Begich, brother of Mark Begich, says of his father, "Until I was nearly 12, I grew up with a man who was a legend, the son of Croatian immigrants, but who disappeared Oct. 16, 1972, into the clouds."
- Eliot Nelson (January 13, 2014). "Alaska Is At A Crossroads. Can Mark Begich Keep It From Falling Apart?". The Huffington Post.
- Reske, Henry J. (March 5, 2009). "10 Things You Didn't Know About Mark Begich". U.S. News and World Report.
- White, Deborah. "Profile of Mayor Mark Begich, '08 Senate Candidate from Alaska". About.com.
- Brown, Cathy (2002-05-14). "Legislature again refuses to vote on appointees". Juneau Empire. Associated Press. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members".
- "A Fourth Mayor Quits Bloomberg Anti-Gun Group - March 15, 2007 - The New York Sun". Nysun.com. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Anchorage mayor announces run against Ted Stevens
- Race Ratings Chart: Senate CQ Politics[dead link]
- 2008 Senate Race Ratings The Cook Political Report, October 9, 2008[dead link]
- 2008 Senate Ratings The Rothenberg Political Report, September 29, 2008
- Alaska Senator Found Guilty of Lying About Gifts, New York Times, October 27, 2008
- Forgey, Pat (April 12, 2009). "Palin denies saying Begich should resign". Juneau Empire.
- Bolstad, Erika; and Sean Cockerham. Palin, Republicans call for special Senate election. Anchorage Daily News, 2009-04-03.
- Yahoo! News. Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens loses re-election bid November 18, 2008
- Quinn, Sean. "Begich will be Alaska's first U.S. Senate Democrat since Gravel". fivethirtyeight.com. November 18, 2008.
- "Stevens concedes race". CNN Political Ticker (CNN). November 19, 2008. Retrieved November 19, 2008.
- Yardley, William (2008-11-19). "Congratulation and a Concession for Alaska’s Senator-Elect". New York Times. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Knickerbocker, Brad (29 May 2013). "Joe Miller tries again in Alaska: Another tea party dust-up?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Pappas, Alex. 4/ "Why Joe Miller thinks he can win the race for Alaska’s Senate seat in 2014". Daily Caller. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "2014 Senate Race Ratings for July 18, 2014". Cook Political Report. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Pianin, Eric (2013-2-15). "7 Senate Seats Most at Risk—Hint: They’re All Blue". Fiscal Times. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Herz, Nathaniel (8-7-2014). "Murkowski attorney demands Begich take down TV ad touting cooperation". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Epstein, Reid (8-7-2014). "Alaska Sen. Murkowski Tells Alaska Sen. Begich: Take Me Out of Your Ads". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Glueck, Katie (8-7/2014). "Lisa Murkowski to Mark Begich: Knock it off". Politico. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Johnson, Kirk (2014-08-20). "Battle for Senate Control Puts a Spotlight on Alaska". New York Times. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Sargent, Greg (2014-03-24). "A vulnerable Dem who is campaigning on expanding Social Security". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Bohrer, Becky (September 5, 2014). "Harsh Ad Gives Begich Re-Election Bid A Hiccup". The Associated Press. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
- Walshe, Shushannah (September 5, 2014). "Ad Controversy Roils Alaska Senate Race". ABC News. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
- "Sen. Begich wrongly ties Republican opponent to horrific crime in inflammatory ad". PolitiFact. August 29, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
- "Ad crossed the line". Ketchikan Daily News. September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
- Bump, Philip (9-2-2014). "Mark Begich pulls a campaign ad suggesting his opponent was indirectly responsible for a sex crime". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Sarlin, Benjy (9-2-2014). "Mark Begich pulls brutal attack ad after backlash". MSNBC. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Bobic, Igor (9-2-2014). "Mark Begich Pulls Controversial Ad About GOP Challenger Dan Sullivan". Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- "Begich: Opening ANWR key to energy plan". Anchorage Daily News. June 12, 2008. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- "AK Dem Sen. Begich Won't Say If He Wants Obama To Campaign For Him". Real Clear Politics. November 14, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- "ANWR Bill Passes Natural Resources Committee". Alaska Public Radio. February 1, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- Yardley, William. "Alaska’s New Senator Sees Change at Work". The New York Times. December 4, 2008.
- "Mark Begich for U.S. Senate - Energy". Begich.com. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
- Gehrke, Joel (March 7, 2014). "Mark Begich waffles on letter he signed". Washington Examiner.
- "Begich defends stimulus bill before veterans". Anchorage Daily News. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Drum, Kevin (2012-11-16). "Mark Begich's Gigantic Tax Increase on the Rich". Mother Jones. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Spross, Jeff (2012-11-16). "Democratic Senator Introduces Bill To Lift Social Security’s Tax Cap, Extend Its Solvency For Decades". Think Progress. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Shiner, Meredith (2-3-2014). "Senate Democrats Backed Obama On Overwhelming Number of 2013 Votes, CQ Roll Call Vote Studies Show". Roll Call (Congressional Quarterly). Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Markay, Lachlan (15 April 2014). "Begich Earmarked Millions for Bankrupt Green Energy Company". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- Everett, Burgess (2014-07-30). "Mark Begich blasts Harry Reid on amendments". Politico. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Bolton, Alexander (2014-06-24). "Dems chafe under Reid’s rules as well". The Hill. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "S. 2258 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Cox, Ramsey (11 September 2014). "Senate passes increase in veterans disability benefits". The Hill. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Blumberg, Peter. (1994-04-21). "Campaign 94 mayor: Let's shake hands before round 2 - 37,850 votes up for grabs." Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved at Newsbank.com (subscription required) on 2007-04-04.
- Blumberg, Peter. (1994-05-18). "Mystrom new mayor." Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved at Newsbank.com (subscription required) on 2007-04-04.
- "Official Election Results". Alaska Division of Elections. November 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-10.[dead link]
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mark Begich.|
|Mayor of Anchorage
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Alaska
Served alongside: Lisa Murkowski
|Party political offices|
Frank J. Vondersaar
|Democratic nominee for United States Senator from Alaska
|Chairman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee
2011 – present
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority