|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||son of Nick Begich (1932-1972)|
|Alma mater||Steller Secondary School|
Mark Peter Begich (//; born March 30, 1962) is the junior United States Senator from Alaska and a member of the Democratic Party. A former mayor of Anchorage, he served on the Anchorage Assembly for almost ten years prior to being elected mayor in 2003. In the 2008 Senate election, Begich defeated incumbent Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican member of the Senate of all time.
Born in Anchorage, he is the son of former U.S. Representative Nick Begich, who was presumed dead following a 1972 plane crash. At 26, he was elected to the Anchorage Assembly. 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.
Begich won the Democratic nomination in the 2008 Senate election. He defeated longtime incumbent Republican Ted Stevens. Stevens had been facing ethics and corruption charges and was convicted of felony violations a week before the election. After being elected, Begich became a member of the moderate Democratic caucus in the Senate. Begich became the Chairman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee in 2011.
- 1 Early life, education, and early political career
- 2 Mayor of Anchorage
- 3 U.S. Senate
- 4 Electoral history
- 5 Personal life
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Early life, education, and early political career
Begich was born in Anchorage at the old Providence Hospital, and is the first person born in Anchorage to be elected as the city's mayor. He is the son of Margaret Jean "Pegge" (née Jendro) and former U.S. Representative Nick Begich, who disappeared (and was declared legally dead) in October 1972 during a flight from Anchorage to Juneau with then House Majority Leader Hale Boggs. The fourth child 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 (today Croatia) in 1911. His mother had Polish, Bohemian (Czech), Dutch, and English ancestry. He attended Steller Secondary School in Anchorage. Begich has taken continuing education classes at University of Alaska Anchorage without graduating. As of 2009, Begich is the only U.S. Senator without a college degree. During the 1988 Legislative Session, Begich worked as a legislative aide for State Representative Dave Donley.
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. In 1989, Begich led the opposition to the sale of the municipally-owned Anchorage Telephone Utility (ATU) to private interests. ATU was eventually sold in 1999 (after Begich had left the Assembly). Begich was also one of the chief sponsors of the introduction of photo radar.
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 win, due to a simultaneously approved law increasing the threshold needed to avoid 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, who was later elected to two terms as Governor of Alaska.
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. The polls showed the race to be leaning for Begich due to Stevens' indictment and felony conviction, both of which were thrown out due to prosecutor misconduct which included hiding evidence and suppressing witnesses which would have cleared Senator Stevens. 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's victory over Stevens in the 2008 Senate elections made him the first Democrat to represent Alaska in either chamber of the United States Congress since Mike Gravel, who was defeated in the Democratic primary in 1980 and left the Senate in 1981 upon the expiration of his term. Begich is the first Croatian-American elected to the United States Senate. He is also the first Mayor of Anchorage to be elected to the Senate. Begich's father, Nick Begich, was the last Democrat to represent Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives, which he did until he was declared legally dead at the end of 1972, following his disappearance along with Boggs earlier that year.
Stevens's conviction was later set aside due to prosecutorial misconduct. Alaska Republican Party chairman Randy Ruedrich issued a call for Begich to resign so a special election could be held. 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 in a statement that he intends to serve his full six-year term.
Begich's political views are considered to be moderate and he is a member of the Moderate Dems Working Group. He is pro-choice, supports same-sex marriage, gun rights and supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He opposes the Patriot Act and claims to "generally" oppose the death penalty, while acknowledging to sometimes "evolve on that issue".
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.
Begich became the Chairman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee in 2011.
In April 2013, Senator Begich was one of forty-six senators to vote against the passing of a bill which would have expanded background checks for all gun buyers. Begich was one of only five Democrats to vote with 41 Republicans to stop the bill.
- 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, 51%
- Steven Fowler, 41%
- 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|
In 1990, Begich married Deborah Bonito, a former chair of the Alaska Democratic Party and the current owner of several small businesses throughout Anchorage. The Begiches have a son, Jacob, who was born in July 2002.
- 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.
- 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."
- White, Deborah. "Profile of Mayor Mark Begich, '08 Senate Candidate from Alaska". usliberals.about.com.
- Reske, Henry J. (March 5, 2009). "10 Things You Didn't Know About Mark Begich". U.S. News and World Report.
- Annotated historical listing of UA Regents Retrieved on February 17, 2010
- "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
- 2008 Senate Race Ratings The Cook Political Report, October 9, 2008
- 2008 Senate Ratings The Rothenberg Political Report, September 29, 2008
- Alaska Senator Found Guilty of Lying About Gifts, New York Times, October 27, 2008
- 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.
- 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.
- "Sen. Mark Begich D-AK, U.S. Senator, Alaska". GovTrack.us (Civic Impulse LLC). 2010-09-06. Retrieved 2010-09-06. "Begich is a moderate Democrat according to GovTrack's own analysis of bill sponsorship."
- "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.
- "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.
- "Senate Vote 281 - Repeals ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell'". The New York Times.
- Pappas, Alex. "Why Joe Miller thinks he can win the race for Alaska’s Senate seat in 2014". Daily Caller. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- 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
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings 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.|
- Senator Mark Begich official U.S. Senate website
- Mark Begich for Senate
- Mark Begich on the Open Directory Project
|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