The Alaska Senate race took a nasty turn, according to a Washington Examiner report on Saturday, when incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Begich released an ad suggesting that his Republican opponent former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan is soft on child rape. The ad refers to a 2013 murder of an elderly couple and the sexual assault of their two year old granddaughter by a sexual offender who had been released from prison early by mistake. The Sullivan campaign is demanding that the ad be taken down as misleading.
It seems that Jerry Active, the sex offender in question, was released from jail on May 25, 2013, because of a bureaucratic error committed in 2007 in which a felony conviction was not entered into the Alaska criminal database. If that conviction had been entered, Active would not have been released until 2018. As if was within hours he broke into the home of Touch Chea, 71, and his wife Sorn Sreap, 73, beat them to death, and then raped their two year old granddaughter and Sreap’s 91 year old mother Yan. Yan subsequently died of the experience.
The timeline in this case is crucial. The original error took place before Sullivan was attorney general. But the early release took place while he was in that office. It is the position of the Begich campaign that Sullivan somehow should have known about the 2007 conviction anyway, despite the fact it was not on the criminal database.
Currently Begich leads Sullivan by 4.6 percent according to the Real Clear Politics poll average, though Sullivan is a head in more recent polls. Alaska’s senate race is considered a tossup that is hard to predict by polling. It is one of the several senate races that is considered crucial for Republican hopes of seizing control of the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections.