Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice comes to the defense of Alaska Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (R) in a new TV ad from the GOP-aligned super PAC American Crossroads, marking the first time in this election cycle she has appeared in a campaign commercial.

In the spot, Rice defends the former state attorney general, who has come under attack from Democratic and Republican opponents over his residency history. Sullivan was raised in Ohio. He moved to Alaska in 1997 but spent much of the next decade living in Maryland while he worked in the Bush administration. In between, he was recalled to active military service.

"Now Dan faces political attacks because he wanted his family by his side. Remember that serving our country required some time in our capital," Rice says in the commercial.

Rice has maintained a relatively low profile since leaving the State Department at the end of the Bush administration. But she is stepping out into the political world more with the midterm elections on the horizon. Rice is scheduled to headline a House GOP fundraiser later this week.

The ad war is heating up in Alaska, where airtime is relatively inexpensive, and Democrats are vowing not to be outspent by Republicans. Sen. Mark Begich (D) went up with a positive ad featuring footage of his late father, who served in Congress.

Crossroads is spending about $170,000 to air the new ad, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.