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One primary victory for Yale’s Frozen Three

Yale alumni had a two-out-of-three chance at winning Alaska’s Republican US Senate primary yesterday. But, as predicted, the nomination went to the third man in the race—a Harvard grad.

On the House side, another Yale alum won the Democratic nomination in a longshot campaign to unseat Alaska’s sole congressman.

The November Senate race is seen as one the nation’s tightest, and a key opportunity in the Republicans’ quest to regain control of the Senate. Tuesday, presumed frontrunner Dan Sullivan, a former Alaska attorney general, beat out Yalies Joe Miller ’95JD and Mead Treadwell ’78 for the chance to take on Democratic incumbent Mark Begich.

Voters knew the Tea Party-backed Miller from his upset victory over Alaska’s other senator, Lisa Murkowski, in the GOP’s 2010 primary. Murkowski won the general election as an independent. This time around, the national party establishment fended off Miller’s challenge by rallying behind Sullivan.

“The primary race represented one of the last chances this year for a Tea Party-backed underdog to take down the favored candidate of GOP powerbrokers,” Fox News reports.

Treadwell, the lieutenant governor, “cast himself as the ‘electable’ conservative, in contrast with Miller,” Fox says. He came in third.

In the House race, 29-year-old Forrest Dunbar ’12JD is the Democratic nominee against 81-year-old Don Young, who has represented Alaska in Congress for more than 30 years. A former Peace Corps member and legal aid lawyer, Dunbar also holds a degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School and a commission in the Army National Guard.

As a first-time candidate challenging a longtime incumbent, and as a Democrat in a Republican state, Dunbar acknowledges that his campaign is a longshot. In fact, “Longshot” is the name of a boat that Dunbar runs past in a goofy campaign video, marrying his “Run Forrest Run” slogan with a parody of The Outfield’s 1986 rock ballad “Your Love.”

“I just wanna win your vote toni-i-i-ght,” Dunbar lip-syncs, wearing a long black wig and top hat over his white shirt and tie. “Don't wanna lose your vote tonight.”

Later, after running through the snow and singing “If there’s a storm I’ll be your boat,” he asks: “Did you like my metaphors tonight?”

Dunbar’s metaphors will get another test in November.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under Mead Treadwell, Joe Miller, Forrest Dunbar, Alaska, US Senate, US Congress
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