The Washington Post

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

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., where she web produces for The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
New Hampshire has voted. The Democrats debate on Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa say...
For Trump, the victory here was sweet vindication, showing that his atypical campaign could prevail largely on the power of celebrity and saturation media coverage. But there was also potential for concern in Tuesday's outcome. Trump faces doubts about his discipline as a candidate and whether he can build his support beyond the levels he has shown in the polls.
The Post's John Wagner and Anne Gearan say...
Hillary Clinton, who was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses last week by the narrowest of margins, now finds herself struggling to right her once-formidable campaign against a self-described democratic socialist whom she has accused of selling pipe dreams to his supporters.
People have every right to be angry. But they're also hungry for solutions.
Hillary Clinton, in her New Hampshire primary night speech
I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.
Donald Trump, in his New Hampshire primary victory speech
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
See results from N.H.

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.