ANCHORAGE, Alaska -


Sen. Mark Begich is facing a tough fight to keep his seat in the U.S. Senate. The Republican National Committee is putting in more effort in Alaska than ever before, according to its secretary who is visiting Alaska through the weekend. The race is already garnering national attention.

"It's an absolutely critical race. We want to take over the U.S. Senate," said RNC Secretary Demetra DeMonte.

Republicans need to win six seats to gain control in Washington. Alaska has been pointed out as one of the key races most important to both parties, said UAA Political Science professor Forrest Nabors.

"I expect that greater and greater attention will be focused on this state," he said.

In a political climate where many voters are frustrated over the messy Obamacare rollout, analysts expect it to be a tougher environment for Democrats. However, Sen. Begich has always faced tough races, said Suzanne Fleek-Green, manager of Alaskans for Begich.

"This race is really no different. It's really about putting Alaska first and making sure that Alaskans see that he's part of a good team fighting for Alaska," said Fleek-Green.

Sen. Begich will have to fight to retain his U.S. Senate seat on the merits of his job performance, said Nabors. But his voting record on Obamacare is what Republicans will focus on.

"I think that is going to be an issue of the 2014 election all over this country," said DeMonte.

GOP candidates include Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, former Dept. Of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, and former U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller, a tea party favorite.

Nabors expects the election to be tight.

"If I were a betting man, I think I would avoid betting on this one because I think it's really too close to call," Nabors said.