Begich drops ad linking challenger to notorious crime

McClatchy Washington BureauSeptember 3, 2014 

Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich has withdrawn a controversial T.V. ad that tried to link his Republican challenger Dan Sullivan to a horrific crime.

The Begich ad accused Sullivan, the state’s former attorney general, of allowing light sentences for sex offenders, singling out an incident from last year in which a man was released from jail and then allegedly killed a couple and sexually assaulted their toddler granddaughter.

The Alaska Department of Law said a database error led to the man serving a shorter sentence than he should have.

The fact-checking web site Politifact noted that the database error happened before Sullivan was attorney general and concluded that the Begich ad is “not only inaccurate, it makes an inflammatory accusation.” Politifact gave the commercial a “Pants on Fire” rating.

The attorney for the family of the victims sent the Begich campaign a letter complaining about the ad, saying that “you are tearing this family apart to the point that your ad was so shocking to them they now want to permanently leave the state as quickly as possible.”

The attorney asked Begich to pull the ad, and asked Sullivan to pull his commercial responding to Begich. Both campaigns said the ads will no longer run.

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