Dan Sullivan (U.S. senator)

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Dan Sullivan
Senator Dan Sullivan official.jpg
United States senator
from Alaska
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Serving with Lisa Murkowski
Preceded byMark Begich
Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources
In office
December 6, 2010 – September 24, 2013
GovernorSean Parnell
Preceded byThomas E. Irwin
Succeeded byJoseph Balash
27th Attorney General of Alaska
In office
June 17, 2009 – November 30, 2010
GovernorSarah Palin
Sean Parnell
Preceded byTalis J. Colberg
Succeeded byJohn J. Burns
22nd Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs
In office
June 6, 2006 – January 1, 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byEarl Anthony Wayne
Succeeded byJose W. Fernandez
Personal details
Daniel Scott Sullivan

(1964-11-13) November 13, 1964 (age 55)
Fairview Park, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Julie Fate
RelationsHugh Fate (father-in-law), Mary Jane Fate (mother-in-law)
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Georgetown University (MS, JD)
WebsiteSenate website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Marine Corps
Years of service1993–1997 (Active)
1997–present (Reserve)
RankUS-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
UnitUnited States Marine Corps Reserve
Commands6th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan
AwardsDefense Meritorious Service Medal.jpg Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Daniel Scott Sullivan (born November 13, 1964) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the junior United States Senator from Alaska since 2015. He is a member of the Republican Party.

Born in Fairview Park, Ohio, Sullivan earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He interned at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. After graduating from law school in 1993, he joined the United States Marine Corps, leaving active duty in 1997. Sullivan has served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, and was recalled to active duty from 2004 to 2006 and in 2009 and 2013.

Between 1997 and 1999, Sullivan clerked for judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Alaska Supreme Court. After working as an attorney in private practice in Anchorage, Alaska from 2000 to 2002, he moved to Maryland to work for the Bush administration; Sullivan worked with the National Economic Council and the National Security Council and later served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs. Sullivan then returned to Alaska, serving first as Alaska Attorney General from 2009 to 2010 and then as Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources from 2010 to 2013. He resigned from office in September 2013 to run in the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic incumbent Mark Begich. In August 2014, Sullivan won the Republican primary, defeating Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell and 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller. Sullivan defeated Begich in the general election by 47.96% to 45.83%, a margin of 6,014 votes out of 282,400 cast.

Early life and education[edit]

Sullivan was born and raised in Fairview Park, Ohio, the son of Sandra (née Simmons) and Thomas C. Sullivan, currently the President and CEO of RPM International, a holding company founded by his father, Frank C. Sullivan.[1]

He attended Culver Military Academy in Indiana and graduated in 1983. In 1987, Sullivan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 1993, he earned joint J.D. and M.S.F.S. degrees from Georgetown University, graduating cum laude. He was a member of the Georgetown Law Journal and interned for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[2]

Military service[edit]

Sullivan has served in the United States Marine Corps since 1993, both on active duty and in the reserves. Sullivan, who has spent several years with a reconnaissance battalion based in Anchorage, Alaska, initially left active duty in 1997 when he first moved to Alaska, but has since been recalled to active duty three times: from 2004 to 2006, again in early 2009, and for a six-week tour in Afghanistan in July 2013.[3] He was recommended for promotion in 2011 to Lt. Colonel by then-retired General John Abizaid, a board member of the Sullivan family-based RPM International corporation since 2008. He is currently a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Sullivan is a recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.[4]

Early legal career[edit]

Sullivan served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Andrew Kleinfeld of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Fairbanks from 1997 to 1998. He then clerked for Chief Justice Warren Matthews of the Alaska Supreme Court in Anchorage from 1998–99.[5]

In 2000, Sullivan joined the Anchorage office of the Perkins Coie law firm, focusing on commercial law and corporate law. He had joined the Alaska bar that same year.[5]

Early political career[edit]

White House and State Department[edit]

In 2002, Sullivan began work in the Washington, D.C., area, where he headed the International Economics Directorate of the National Economic Council and National Security Council staffs at the White House. Sullivan advised the President of the United States – then George W. Bush – along with the National Security Advisor and NEC chairman. Sullivan left the White House in 2004.[4]

In 2006, Sullivan was appointed by President Bush to the post of United States Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs. The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Sullivan in May of that year. Sullivan served in this capacity until January 2009. While serving as Assistant Secretary of State he owned a house in Anchorage and continued to vote in Alaska elections by absentee ballot, claiming Bethesda, Maryland as his primary residence for tax purposes.[6][7]

Alaska Attorney General[edit]

Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg resigned in February 2009 over the Alaska Public Safety Commissioner dismissal scandal. Governor Sarah Palin nominated Wayne Anthony Ross to be Attorney General, but the Alaska Legislature rejected the appointment. Palin then nominated Sullivan instead.[8] He was sworn into office in June 2009, while the Alaska Legislature was out of session. The Alaska Legislature unanimously confirmed Sullivan's appointment on April 9, 2010.[9]

Sullivan, who had been retained by Governor Sean Parnell, stepped down as Alaska's Attorney General on December 5, 2010, to be replaced by John J. Burns, who was nominated by Parnell on November 31, 2010.[10][11]

Alaska DNR Commissioner[edit]

On November 18, 2010, shortly after being elected, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell appointed Sullivan as Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, replacing former Commissioner Thomas E. Irwin. In 2013, during his term in office, Sullivan was deployed to Afghanistan for six weeks, in his role as the executive officer of the 4th Marine Division's Anti-Terrorism Battalion.[12]

United States Senate[edit]

2014 election[edit]

Bumper sticker from Sullivan's Senate campaign

On October 15, 2013, he announced that he was running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic incumbent Mark Begich in the 2014 election.[13] Sullivan was endorsed by the Club for Growth.[14]

On June 10, 2014, Sullivan offered Begich the Alaska Agreement.[15] This was a modified version of the People's Pledge. This tactic had previously been used in the Massachusetts 2012 U.S. Senate race between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown to drastically limit outside, third party spending.[15] Begich refused the Alaska Agreement.[15] According to Ballotpedia, outside spending in the race went on to hit nearly $40 million.[16]

Despite a late-race endorsement of 2010 party nominee Joe Miller by Sarah Palin, Sullivan won the Republican primary on August 19, 2014, with 40% of the vote, and 32% and 25% for Miller and Treadwell respectively.[17][18]

On November 12, 2014, the Associated Press[19] and CNN[20] declared that Sullivan defeated Begich in the general election by about 8,000 votes—48.6 to 45.4 percent. At the time of the Associated Press call, there were approximately 31,000 votes left to count and Begich refused to concede.[21] On November 17, 2014, Begich conceded the election to Sullivan.[22] Final results showed that Sullivan defeated Begich 47.96% to 45.83%, a margin of 6,014 votes out of 282,400 cast.[23][24]


Sullivan was sworn into office on January 6, 2015, by Vice President Joe Biden.

Committee assignments[edit]

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Senators Joni Ernst, Dan Sullivan, John McCain, Tom Cotton, Lindsey Graham, and Cory Gardner attending the 2016 International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit in Singapore


Political positions[edit]

Social policy[edit]

Sullivan has not made social issues a major part of his candidacy.[25] He opposes abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother; he has also voiced his opposition to same-sex marriage.[26]

Sullivan opposed the FIRST STEP Act. The bill passed 87–12 on December 18, 2018.[27]

Sullivan has cosponsored the bipartisan STATES Act proposed in the 115th U.S. Congress by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner that would exempt individuals or corporations in compliance with state cannabis laws from federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act.[28]

Foreign policy[edit]

In July 2017, Sullivan co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (s. 720), which made it a federal crime for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories if protesting actions by the Israeli government.[29][30]

Dan Sullivan receiving a commemorative gun during a National Rifle Association event in Alaska.

Gun policy[edit]

In the 2014 Senate campaign in Alaska, the National Rifle Association (NRA) declined to make an endorsement. The NRA gave Democratic nominee Mark Begich an "A-" rating and gave Sullivan an "A-q" rating, with the "q" indicating the rating was qualified because Sullivan had no voting record at the time.[31]

Donald Trump[edit]

Sullivan opposed then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump during the 2016 presidential race, releasing a statement that said, "We need national leaders who can lead by example" on issues of sexual assault and violence against women. Sullivan added, "The reprehensible revelations about Donald Trump have shown that he can't. Therefore, I am withdrawing my support for his candidacy."[32]

Sullivan voted to acquit Trump at the conclusion of his impeachment trial.[33][34]

Missile defense system[edit]

In the summer of 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that landed about 200 miles (320 km) off the coast of Japan. He also threatened the United States with an ICBM strike. Sullivan said, "In fact, for over a year, the experts have been saying it's not a matter of if, but when North Korea will develop an [ICBM] that could hit not only Alaska and Hawaii, but the entire continental United States." Sullivan supports improving the United States' missile defense system (MDS). The U.S. Department of Defense, as of 2017, was conducting a missile defense review targeted at strengthening the nation's defensive abilities, studying whether to place missile interceptor sites on the east coast or in the Midwest, and recommending funding priorities. The report was due to Congress at the end of 2018.[35]

Personal life[edit]

While at Georgetown, Sullivan met fellow law student Julie Fate, a staffer for U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. Sullivan and Fate married and had three daughters. Julie Fate is the daughter of retired dentist and former Alaska State Representative Hugh "Bud" Fate and Mary Jane Fate, who was once the co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives.[4]

Electoral history[edit]

Alaska Senator (Class II) Republican Primary, 2014[36]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dan Sullivan 44,740 40.05
Republican Joe Miller 35,904 32.14
Republican Mead Treadwell 27,807 24.90
Republican John M. Jaramillo 3,246 2.91
Total votes 113,752 100.0
Alaska Senator (Class II) General Election, 2014[37]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dan Sullivan 135,445 47.96
Democratic Mark Begich (incumbent) 129,431 45.83
Libertarian Mark S. Fish 10,512 3.72
Independent Ted Gianoutsos 5,636 2.00
Write-in votes Write-in 1,376 0.49
Total votes 282,400 100.0


  1. ^ [1]. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  2. ^ Biography[permanent dead link], community.adn.com; accessed November 6, 2014.
  3. ^ DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan Deployed to Afghanistan Archived 2013-10-17 at the Wayback Machine. Anchorage Daily News, July 22, 2013; retrieved July 31, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Lisa Demer (April 19, 2014). "Candidate profile: Dan Sullivan, Marine and ex-resources chief, aims for US Senate seat". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Profile, adn.com, April 19, 2014; accessed November 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Profile, adn.com; accessed November 6, 2014.
  7. ^ "Tax assessor says Alaska's Senate hopeful was Md. resident". The Hill. September 30, 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  8. ^ Article 3 - The Executive, law.justia.com; accessed September 9, 2016.
  9. ^ Alaska legislature unanimously confirms Sullivan Archived 2010-04-11 at the Wayback Machine, adn.com; accessed November 6, 2014.
  10. ^ Alaska Attorney General John Burns begins work, Fairbanks Daily News Miner, December 27, 2010.
  11. ^ Jessica M. Karmasek,Burns is Alaska's new attorney general, Legal NewsLine, December 1, 2010; retrieved September 9, 2016.
  12. ^ "DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan Deployed to Afghanistan" Archived 2013-10-17 at the Wayback Machine, adn.com, July 22, 2013; accessed November 6, 2014.
  13. ^ "Former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan enters U.S. Senate race". Anchorage Daily News. September 15, 2013.
  14. ^ "Club for Growth Backs Sullivan in Alaska Race". RealClearPolitics. March 12, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c Sullivan, Sean (10 June 2014). "The 'People's Pledge' is back in Alaska. Wait, what the heck is that?". Retrieved 6 January 2018 – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  16. ^ "United States Senate elections in Alaska, 2014". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Sarah Palin endorses Joe Miller in Alaska Senate race", Washington Post, August 15, 2014; retrieved August 22, 2014.
  18. ^ "Sullivan declares victory in high- takes GOP Senate primary", Alaska Dispatch News, Dermot Cole, August 20, 2014; retrieved August 22, 2014.
  19. ^ Bohrer, Becky. Voted yes for Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh 106/18. sSenator Sullivan's father's company RPM made parts for Boeing during the Reagan era. Republican Dan Sullivan wins Senate race in Alaska, Associated Press, November 12, 2014.
  20. ^ Peligri, Justin. Republican challenger defeats Begich in Alaska Senate race, CNN, November 12, 2014.
  21. ^ Walshe, Shushanna. Alaska Senate Race: Why Democrat Mark Begich Refuses To Concede, ABC News, November 12, 2014.
  22. ^ Joseph, Cameron. Begich concedes Alaska Senate race, The Hill, November 17, 2014.
  23. ^ https://www.elections.alaska.gov/results/14GENR/data/results.htm
  24. ^ Johnson, Kirk https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/us/dan-sullivan-holds-on-to-win-alaska-senate-race-for-gop.html, The New York Times, November 12, 2014.
  25. ^ Gutierrez, Alexandra (October 31, 2014). "Alaska's War for Women's Votes". The New Yorker. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  26. ^ Alaska Republicans focus on social issues in debate, thehill.com; accessed November 6, 2014.
  27. ^ Levin, Marianne. "Senate approves Trump-backed criminal justice overhaul". Politico. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  28. ^ "Cosponsors - S.3032 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): STATES Act". congress.gov. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  29. ^ "Cosponsors - S.720 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Israel Anti-Boycott Act". congress.gov. 23 March 2017.
  30. ^ Levitz, Eric (2017-07-19). "43 Senators Want to Make It a Federal Crime to Boycott Israeli Settlements". Intelligencer.
  31. ^ "NRA withholds endorsement in Alaska Senate race". CBS News. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  32. ^ "Full statements on Donald Trump from Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan". Alaska Dispatch News. 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  33. ^ Sullivan, Sen Dan (5 February 2020). "This afternoon, I voted to acquit President Trump on both charges brought against him by the House of Representatives. My full statement submitted to the congressional record". @SenDanSullivan. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  34. ^ Ruskin, Liz; Media, Alaska Public (February 6, 2020). "Sullivan, after voting to acquit Trump, calls the president's actions less than 'perfect'".
  35. ^ Riley, Kim (2017-07-28). "Bolster U.S. missile defense system, 'massively retaliate' if needed, Sen. Sullivan says". Homeland Preparedness News. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  36. ^ "Primary Election - August 19, 2014 Primary Election Results" (PDF). Alaska Division of Elections. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  37. ^ "GENERAL ELECTION - November 4, 2014 General Election Results" (PDF). Alaska Division of Elections. Retrieved January 29, 2020.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Talis Colberg
Attorney General of Alaska
Succeeded by
John Burns
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ted Stevens
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Alaska
(Class 2)

Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Mark Begich
United States Senator (Class 2) from Alaska
Served alongside: Lisa Murkowski
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Ben Sasse
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Chris Van Hollen