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New York attorney challenging Begich

Posted: November 24, 2013 - 1:05am

ANCHORAGE — A New York attorney is running against U.S. Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska in next year’s Democratic primary without leaving home.

William “Bill” Bryk wants Begich to have some competition, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The Alaska Democratic party has already offered a rare, pre-primary endorsement of Begich, whose seat is coveted by Republicans looking to reclaim control of the Senate.

Bryk’s filing with the Alaska Division of Elections was certified in late September, state elections director Gail Fenumiai said. No other Democrats have filed to run against Begich, who was born and raised in Alaska.

“I think the reason that no one is running against Sen. Begich is they’re happy with his record,” Begich campaign manager Susanne Fleek-Green said.

Bryk, who has never been west of Buffalo, N.Y., said if he wins the primary, he would have to be an Alaska resident on Election Day, which he said is how the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the U.S. Constitution on the issue of residency. Bryk, 58, said he would move with his wife, cats and household furniture to the state to satisfy that interpretation.

The Constitution requires that to be a senator, a person must be at least 30 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least nine years and “when elected,” an inhabitant of the state for which he was chosen.

Bryk does not plan to campaign in Alaska at all.

This isn’t the first out-of-state candidacy for the Brooklyn attorney, who has made previous failed runs for Congress in Indiana, and for U.S. Senate in Wyoming and Idaho.

Bryk’s Senate platform includes reforming the existing public health care system — “Medicare for everybody!” he says — and allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He also advocates building a railroad link between Alaska and the Lower 48.

Five Republicans have announced plans to run for the seat: Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, former state Attorney General and Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller, Palmer student and U.S. Air Force veteran John M. Jaramillo, and Anchorage resident and anti-abortion activist Kathleen M. Tonn.

The Brooklyn-born chairman of the state Republican party, Peter Goldberg, offered his take on the Democratic side.

“I suppose, if I were a Democrat, given that I grew up in Brooklyn, I’d vote for the other guy,” Goldberg said.

“Obviously I’m not in favor of Mark Begich for a variety of reasons,” he said. “But at least I can relate to this other guy at some level.”

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