One week after the midterm election, former Alaska Atty. Gen.
Sullivan was about 8,000 votes ahead of incumbent Democrat
The Associated Press declared Sullivan the winner after determining that Begich could not overcome Sullivan's lead, even with thousands of ballots still outstanding and several more days of counting to go.
Begich, a former mayor of Anchorage serving his first Senate term, declined to concede the race, however, until every vote was tabulated. The race for governor, between independent
Sullivan, who turns 50 on Thursday, served as attorney general under Gov.
He benefited from strong opposition to President
But his ties to his fellow Democrat were pounded home in millions of dollars in advertisements, mostly placed by outside groups flooding Alaska's airwaves.
With more than $40 million in spending by both sides, the contest ranked as the fourth-most expensive Senate race in the country this election season, though with a targeted audience of 500,000 or so voters it easily was the priciest per capita.
Alaska was once seen as crucial to the fight for control of the Senate, but Republican gains elsewhere meant the outcome merely padded the GOP's advantage. The new Senate will be sworn in in January.
The party could gain a ninth seat next month in Louisiana, where Democratic Sen.
By defeating at least four incumbents, Republicans easily surpassed their performance of the last decade, when they managed to unseat just three Democratic senators in total. The results election night — knocking off Democratic senators in North Carolina, Alaska and Colorado — marked the first time since Ronald Reagan's 1980 landslide that the GOP toppled three incumbents in a single election.