|United States Senator
January 3, 2009
Serving with Lisa Murkowski
|Preceded by||Ted Stevens|
|Succeeded by||Dan Sullivan (elect)|
|Mayor of Anchorage|
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 
Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Alaska, Anchorage (attended)|
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 narrowly defeated incumbent Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican member of the Senate of all time.
On November 12, 2014, the Associated Press reported that Begich was defeated by former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan in the general election by about 8,000 votes - 48.6% to 45.4%. Begich eventually conceded the race to Sullivan.
- 1 Early life, education and early political career
- 2 Mayor of Anchorage
- 3 U.S. Senate
- 4 Policy positions
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Electoral history
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 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 Croatia (then part of the empire of 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.
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 was 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 the final Rothenberg Political Report before the election, the Report considered the race a “Toss-up/Tilt Republican.”
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." Begich declined to pull the ad.
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 pulled a campaign ad accusing opponent Dan Sullivan of allowing an alleged murderer and rapist to get off with a light sentence. That claim was proven to be false by fact checkers. The ad was withdrawn from Alaska television stations following demands from the crime victim's family that the ads were both insensitive and threatened prosecution of a criminal suspect.
On November 17, 2014, Begich conceded the election to Sullivan.
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.
In March 2013, Begich cosponsored a bill that would flag individuals attempting to buy guns who have used an insanity defense, were ruled dangerous by a court, or had been committed by a court to mental health treatment. It did not address the gun show loophole. It has not been passed into law.
Representative Don Young praised Begich for doing a "great job" representing Alaska.
Begich has sponsored one hundred sixty-three bills of his own, including:
111th Congress (2009-2010)
- S. 1561-1566, Begich's first bills, each introduced August 3, 2009, would address a number of issues affecting the Arctic region. S. 1561 would increase coordination among the United States, Russia, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and other seafaring and Arctic nations with regards to navigation, monitoring of conditions, and marine pollution in Arctic waters. S. 1562 would review and make more efficient scientific research being conducted in the Arctic, and would direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop an observation, monitoring, modeling, and research plan for black carbon and other aerosols. S. 1563 would create a U.S. Ambassador At Large for Arctic Affairs. S. 1564 would increase the studying of, preparation for, and responses to oil spills that occur in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. S. 1565 would direct the United States Arctic Research Commission to submit biennial reports to Congress detailing the strategies to deal with health needs specific to populations living in the Arctic. S. 1566 would create a grant program in the Department of Agriculture to aid individuals and organizations in the Arctic for adapting to changes in climate, and would fund research detailing the most appropriate responses to changes in Arctic climate. Begich later introduced S. 3580 and S.3584, which are similar to S. 1564. S. 1563, S. 1565, S. 3580 and S. 3584 were reintroduced in the 112th Congress as S. 1229, S. 1227, S. 203 and S. 204. S. 1563 and S. 1565 were reintroduced in the 113th Congress as S. 270 and S. 271.
- S. 1673, a bill to increase the tax deduction for Alaska Native corporations that make donations to conservation on lands reserved for Alaska Natives, introduced September 15, 2009, reintroduced in the 113th Congress as S. 2636
- S. 2842 and S. 2873, bills to deny the tax deduction for direct-to-consumer expenses for prescription pharmaceuticals advertisers, and to allow for a $500 tax credit for the parents of any child who participates in an organization that promotes physical activity for children, introduced December 7 and 11, 2009
- S. 2852, a bill to support the development of renewable energy sources in the Arctic, introduced December 9, 2009, reintroduced in the 112th Congress as S. 3371, and in the 113th Congress as S. 2705
- S. 3225, a bill to create a competitive grant program in the Department of Commerce, with grants to be awarded to entities that promote domestic regional tourism growth and new domestic tourism market creation, introduced March 19, 2010. A modified version of this bill was introduced in the 112th Congress as S. 1663.
- S. 3704, a bill to reform the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in order to improve the financial safety and soundness of the FHA mortgage insurance program, introduced August 4, 2010. S. 3704's companion bill was passed by the House of Representatives but has not become law.
- S. 3820, a bill to create a competitive grant program, with grants to be awarded to educational institutions that implement and expand effective science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curricula, introduced September 29, 2010, reintroduced in the 112th Congress as S. 463
- S. 3969 and S. 3971, bills to require genetically-engineered fish to be labeled as such, and to prohibit the commercial approval of genetically-engineered fish, introduced November 18, 2010, reintroduced in the 112th Congress as S. 229 and S. 230
112th Congress (2011-2012)
- S. 205, a bill to require post-production oil drilled from Arctic waters to be transported by means of pipelines, to allocate 37.5% of the revenue generated from leasing rights and post-leasing activities to the Alaskan government, of which 20% is to be allocated to coastal political subdivisions, 33% to certain regional corporations, and 7% to Alaska Native Indian tribes, and to allocate 6.25% of federal royalty revenue to a land and water conservation fund and to reducing the federal government's budget deficit, introduced January 26, 2011, reintroduced in the 113th Congress as S. 199
- S. 895, a bill to create a competitive grant program in the Department of Education to award grants to educational institutions that improve the effectiveness of teachers, strengthen the use of data to improve education, provide rigorous standards with high-standard tests aligned with those standards, turn around the lowest-performing schools, and any other thing the Secretary of Education chooses, with at least 25% of funds being allocated to rural education institutions, and to direct the Secretary of Education to create performance measures to track improvements, introduced May 5, 2011, reintroduced in the 113th Congress as S. 283
- S. 1357, a bill to make the Roadless Area Conservation Rule inapplicable to land in Alaska included in the National Forest System, introduced July 13, 2011, reintroduced in the 113th Congress as S. 384
- S. 1691, a bill to allow the interstate sale of firearms if the transaction is in compliance with both states' laws, and to no longer prohibit licensees from conducting business at gun shows outside of the state in which they received their license, introduced October 12, 2011
- S. 1717, a bill to prohibit genetically-engineered salmon from being distributed or sold in interstate and foreign commerce, introduced October 17, 2011
- S. 2180 and S. 2181, bills to create a $3,000 tax credit for early-childhood educators, to include early-childhood educators in the federal loan forgiveness programs for teachers, and to cap the allowable amount of loan forgiveness in these programs for early-childhood educators at $25,000, introduced March 8, 2012, reintroduced in the 113th Congress as S. 438 and S. 440
- S. 2188, a bill to allow individuals with a permit to carry concealed handguns to be able to conceal their handguns in all other states in which equivalent laws exist, introduced March 12, 2012
- S. 3262, a bill to authorize aboriginal whaling if it is used for the purpose of subsistence, is accomplished in an efficient manner, and does not include the hunting of any whale accompanied by a calf, introduced July 5, 2012
- S. 3451, a bill to exempt certain air taxi services from an excise tax imposed on air transportation, introduced July 26, 2012
113th Congress (2013-2014)
- S. 282, a bill to award competitive grants to states that implement post-secondary education planning and career guidance programs for students, introduced February 12, 2013
- S. 287, a bill to expand veterans' benefits for homeless veterans, introduced February 12, 2013
- S. 428, a bill to allow the Army to plan, survey, design, construct, maintain, or operate Arctic deepwater ports in cooperation with developers (which the bill defines), introduced February 28, 2013
- S. 896, a bill to eliminate the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax's cap on taxable income, introduced May 8, 2013
- S. 1325, a bill to expand the small business tax credit for health insurance, introduced July 18, 2013. A modified version of this bill was later introduced as S. 2069.
- S. 1327, a bill to allow employers to enroll their employees in a health plan in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program if fewer than two plans are offered in the Small Business Health Options Program and no multi-state plans are available, introduced July 18, 2013
- S. 1729, a bill to create a new "copper" tier of health plans below current "bronze" level plans offered in the PPACA's insurance exchanges, introduced November 19, 2013
- S. 2059, a bill to expand the Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit from a lifetime credit of $1,500 to $5,000 in a single taxable year, introduced February 27, 2014
- S. 2241, a bill to create harsher penalties for individuals who distribute or manufacture drugs in or near schools, recreational areas, swimming pools, and game arcades, introduced April 10, 2014
- S. 2258, a bill to bind the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for veterans' disability compensation to the COLA for disability benefits in the Social Security program, introduced April 28, 2014, signed into law September 26, 2014
- S. 2399, a bill to make valid for voting any ID card issued by an Indian Tribe or Native Corporation, and to place restrictions on the elimination, moving, and consolidation of polling locations in Indian reservations, introduced May 22, 2014
- S. 2957, a bill to prohibit Super PACs from making robocalls to individuals who have listed their phone number in the National Do Not Call Registry, introduced November 25, 2014
- 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
Beigich is pro-choice and opposes restrictions on late-term abortions. He has received a 100% rating from the pro-choice organization NARAL and a 0% rating from the pro-life organization NRLC.
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.
Beigich voted in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (most commonly known as Obamacare) when the Bill first passed Congress. Beigich has not said whether or not he would vote for the Bill again.
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.
Anchorage Assembly, Seat H 1995
- Mark Begich, 52%
- Steven Fowler, 40%
- Edward Robbins, 5%
|Anchorage Mayor, 1994
|Anchorage Mayor, Runoff 1994
|Anchorage Mayor, 2000
|Anchorage Mayor, Runoff 2000
|Anchorage Mayor, 2003
|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.
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- Bohrer, Becky. Republican Dan Sullivan wins Senate race in Alaska, Associated Press, November 12, 2014.
- 2014 General Election - Unofficial Results, Alaska Department of Elections, November 4, 2014.
- Begich concedes Alaska U.S. Senate race, thehill.com; accessed November 23, 2014.
- Mark Begich concedes to Dan Sullivan, politico.com; accessed November 23, 2014.
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- 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."
- "mark begich".
- Eliot Nelson (January 13, 2014). "Alaska Is At A Crossroads. Can Mark Begich Keep It From Falling Apart?". The Huffington Post.
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- 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".
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- 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. "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 (February 15, 2013). "7 Senate Seats Most at Risk—Hint: They’re All Blue". Fiscal Times. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
- "Senate Ratings". Rotheberg Political Report. Oct 13, 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
- Herz, Nathaniel (August 7, 2014). "Murkowski attorney demands Begich take down TV ad touting cooperation". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Epstein, Reid (August 7, 2014). "Alaska Sen. Murkowski Tells Alaska Sen. Begich: Take Me Out of Your Ads". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Glueck, Katie (August 7, 2014). "Lisa Murkowski to Mark Begich: Knock it off". Politico. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Klimas, Jacqueline (Aug 11, 2014). "Attack ad 2.0: Sen. Begich won’t take down ad showing him working with Murkowski". Washington Times. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
- Johnson, Kirk (August 20, 2014). "Battle for Senate Control Puts a Spotlight on Alaska". New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
- Sargent, Greg (March 24, 2014). "A vulnerable Dem who is campaigning on expanding Social Security". Washington Post. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
- "Sen. Begich wrongly ties Republican opponent to horrific crime in inflammatory ad". PolitiFact. August 29, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
- Bump, Philip (September 2, 2014). "Mark Begich pulls a campaign ad suggesting his opponent was indirectly responsible for a sex crime". Washington Post. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Sarlin, Benjy (September 2, 2014). "Mark Begich pulls brutal attack ad after backlash". MSNBC. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Bobic, Igor (September 2, 2014). "Mark Begich Pulls Controversial Ad About GOP Challenger Dan Sullivan". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
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- "Begich defends stimulus bill before veterans". Anchorage Daily News. February 16, 2009. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
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- 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 (February 3, 2014). "Senate Democrats Backed Obama On Overwhelming Number of 2013 Votes, CQ Roll Call Vote Studies Show". Roll Call (Congressional Quarterly). Retrieved August 7, 2014.
- "Graham introduces background check bill with NRA backing". CNN. March 6, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
- "S.480 - NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013". Congress.gov. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
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- "Senator Begich's Legislation". congress.gov. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
- Elise Viebeck. "Can abortion rights push pay off in Alaska?". TheHill.
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- "The Silent Treatment". WSJ. 1 September 2014.
- Justin Sink. "Begich latest senator to endorse gay marriage". TheHill.
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
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- "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
|Party political offices|
|Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Alaska
|Chairperson of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Alaska
Served alongside: Lisa Murkowski
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority