Can firing up the partisan base backfire in Alaska?

“It’s not providing voters with the information they need to make an educated vote at the polls,” she said. “That is the responsibility of the Division of Elections.”

Both Gross and Galvin have taken pains to point out areas where they diverge from the Democratic platform, often on issues that are important to Alaskans. Galvin, for example supports oil drilling,  and her husband works in the oil industry. Gross, who announced his campaign with a story about the time he killed a grizzly bear in self defense, has said he would vote against any gun ban. 

Accused of being ‘fake independent’

But Sullivan and Young say their opponents’ identification as independents is disingenuous and voters can see through them regardless of how they appear on the ballot. They point out that both Gross and Galvin have received substantial support from national Democratic groups intent on flipping the Senate and maintaining control of the House.  

“Al Gross has attempted to mislead Alaskans from the onset about his independent label, which we know is frankly not being upfront with Alaskans,” said Sullivan campaign manager Matthew Shuckerow. “Al Gross will empower national Democrats and their agenda, which is anti-Alaska, anti resource development and anti-second amendment.” 

That’s a message both Republican campaigns have sought to hammer home in ads calling their opponents “liberal Democrats” who have taken support from Democratic campaign committees in Washington. The Senate Leadership Fund, a Super-PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, last week joined the fray with a $1.6 million investment in ads TV, radio and digital ads calling Gross a “far-left, fake independent.”