National | Politics

Native voters in two states could determine control of Senate

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) campaigns in the village of Napaskiak. Photo from Facebook

American Indian and Alaska Native voters could help determine which party controls the Senate.

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is campaigning to hold onto his seat. He's seen support from prominent Native leaders and Native advocates, who believe Republican Dan Sullivan won't support them on subsistence, sovereignty and other issues due to his record as the state's attorney general.

About 15 percent of the population is Native. In 2010, they helped send Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) back to the Senate in an historic write-in campaign.

“That shocked a lot of people,” Robin Samuelson, the chairman of Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., told The Wall Street Journal. He supports Begich, the paper said.

In South Dakota, tribal leaders have endorsed Democrat Rick Weiland but he's trailing former governor Mike Rounds, the Republican nominee, and independent Larry Pressler in the polls. About 9 percent of the population is Native and the Native vote has proven crucial in the past.

Get the Story:
Native American Voters Figure in Key Senate Races (The Wall Street Journal 10/14)
Senate Contest in South Dakota Is Free-for-All (The New York Times 10/14)

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