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Republican Senate hopefuls participate in Anchorage debate

By Kate McPherson 7:52 AM June 27, 2014

East High School’s auditorium was almost full Thursday night for the first formal debate between Alaska’s Republican candidates for U.S. Senate.

It was a debate that almost didn’t go ahead when it came to light that the Republican women’s groups that organized the debate were not registered with the Federal Election Commission and could be in violation of certain laws if they sponsored the event.

The problem was quickly cleared up when Anchorage radio station KOAN and the Matanuska Valley’s KVNT agreeing to step in and sponsor the debate.

Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell, Joe Miller and Dan Sullivan responded to preapproved questions. They were also given the chance to ask each other questions and took a few audience questions during the two-hour long event.

The debate covered a range of topics including the future of Alaska’s economy and job creation. All three candidates had similar responses that centered on the importance of extracting the state’s natural resources. But Treadwell also focused on the importance of education and he dismissed the need for Alaska to follow the national Common Core standards.

Miller said he thought developing Alaska’s natural resources was one the most important tasks he’d have if elected, but he also spoke strongly about tax reform, saying he’d support the elimination of most taxes, crack down on tax havens and work to abolish the IRS.

Sullivan emphasized his experience as the Department of Natural Resources commissioner and said he’d work hard to make sure Alaska gains more access to federal land.

Sullivan — who is ahead when it comes to donations — and Treadwell also had a heated discussion about campaign financing coming in from out of state.

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