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Begich picks up endorsements from three Fairbanks-area mayors

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Posted: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 3:29 pm | Updated: 4:10 pm, Tue Jul 1, 2014.

Three Fairbanks-area mayors from past and present have lent their support to Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich in a campaign ad released today.

Appearing in the ad are city of Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart, current Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins and former borough Mayor Jim Whitaker.

"We're all voting for Mark Begich," the three say in unison in the ad, Eberhart standing in front of Fairbanks City Hall, Whitaker on the streets of downtown Fairbanks and Hopkins in front of a coal-fired power plant.

Whitaker, who served as borough mayor prior to Hopkins, also points out that he's a Republican (a Republican who also spoke at the 2008 Democratic National Convention). Eberhart and Hopkins, whose positions are both non-partisan, have been more liberal-leaning, with backers with ties to the Alaska Democratic Party.

Of Begich's qualifications, Hopkins says "he took on the EPA and kept our coal-fired power plant open." Whitaker chimes in "that's why we know he's against the carbon tax."

Begich's position on the carbon tax has featured in almost all conservative ads, claiming the freshman Democrat has supported taxes or fees on greenhouse gas emissions. But it's a point that fact-checking website PolitiFact has ruled "mostly false."

The ad continues with the mayors crediting Begich for his work on defending Eielson from a proposed forced reduction by avoiding the relocation of the base's F-16 squadron.

Eberhart adds "he fought to keep our squadron of F-16s at Eielson" and Hopkins says "that saved 3,000 jobs."

Whitaker and Eberhart finish off the endorsement with Whitaker saying that Begich has "clout" and Eberhart saying that the state can't afford to lose it.

Absent from the lineup is North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward. When approached about his absence from the cheery ad, Ward said he wasn't approached and that he won't be endorsing any candidate at this time.

Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.

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