Democrat Begich: I’m more like a ‘Rockefeller Republican”

June 17, 2013

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is a difficult politician to introduce. This isn’t because of his lengthy resume or great oratory skills, it's more because Sen. Begich doesn’t know how to label himself politically.

When CNBC anchor Joe Kernen hosted Sen. Begich on his program, Squawk Box, this morning, he tried to make it easier on audiences.

“I’m trying to put everyone in a box we can understand,” Kernen said. “Are you closer to a Pelosi Democrat or to a Rockefeller Republican?”

“Probably a Rockefeller Republican,” Begich said without hesitation.

When prompted for an explanation, he phrased it simply.

“Alaska Democrats are very different," he said before listing his support of oil and gas development and a strong military.

Sen. Begich is the former mayor of Anchorage. After defeating Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican senator in history, he became the first Democrat to represent Alaska in Congress in nearly thirty years. He is currently a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and was one of four Democrats to oppose gun background check legislation in April.

Later, during a discussion of universal background checks and gun-control reform, Begich admitted that Alaskans just don’t like being placed into boxes.

“For us to say we’re Democrat or Republican, Alaskans like to say, ‘Hey, we’re Alaskans. Here are our views. There are gonna be differences,’” he said.

Ruth Tam is a writer based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter: @ruthetam.
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