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Murkowski, Trump-Backed Tshibaka Advance To November’s General Election

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Establishment Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka will advance to the November general election in Alaksa for U.S. Senate.

“Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka, the Trump-backed former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, are expected to finish first and second in the non-partisan blanket primary respectively,” Axios reported.

“Under Alaska’s new system, four candidates advance in the primary and face off in a ranked-choice general election. Murkowski, one of the most moderate members of the Senate Republican Conference, stoked Trump’s enmity in June 2020 when she said she was “struggling” with whether to support him for reelection,” the outlet added.

“The general election is ranked choice, meaning the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated, and their votes are reallocated to voters’ second choices. The process repeats until a candidate wins a majority. Political observers in the state told Axios the system is expected to benefit moderates like Murkowski, though the fact it’s being used for the first time leaves a great deal of uncertainty,” the outlet continued.

After advancing to November’s general election, Tshibaka issued a statement on her bid to unseat Murkowski.

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“This is just the first step in breaking the Murkowski monarchy’s grip on Alaska, as voters have clearly indicated that it’s time for a change in our representation in the Senate. As I have traveled across Alaska – enough miles to circumnavigate the globe – Alaskans tell me they want a new senator who listens to their concerns and votes in alignment with their values. After 21 years in the Senate, in a seat she was appointed to by her father which she funds with dark money from outside our state, Lisa Murkowski cares more about her status with the Washington, D.C. insiders than she does about what the people here at home think,” Tshibaka said.

“Tonight’s results also demonstrate that voters have clear choices. We already know that Murkowski says one thing in Alaska and then does the complete opposite in D.C. And we know that people on both sides of important issues – like abortion and the 2nd Amendment – can’t trust her because she’s always speaking out of both sides of her mouth. For Democrats, there is also a clear option in Pat Chesbro, who at least is honest about where she stands on issues,” she added.

“I am grateful to the people of Alaska for the support they showed me today – we accomplished this together as a team, and we will prevail together in November as a team. I am also thankful for the strong and unwavering support President Trump has shown Alaska. I look forward to the next three months of conversations with Alaskans, and to a great victory on November 8th!” she concluded.

Former President Donald Trump held a July rally in Alaska and tore into Murkowski, calling her “worse than a Democrat.”

“She’s a total creature of the Washington swamp but much worse than that and a tool of a corrupt establishment, the likes of which we’ve never seen. The fake news media loves her,” Trump said.

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“This is your precious chance to dump the horrific RINO Senator Lisa Murkowski, using the acronym for “Republican in name only, “who’s worse than a Democrat. She’s worse than a Democrat,” Trump added.

For her part, Murkowski admitted earlier this year that she may lose her primary bid to Tshibaka.

“I may not be re-elected,” Murkowski told the New York Times about the possible end of her 20-year Senate career.

“It may be that Alaskans say, ‘Nope, we want to go with an absolute, down-the-line, always, always, 100-percent, never-question, rubber-stamp Republican,” she said about Tshibaka, who is leading in the polls.

“And if they say that that’s the way that Alaska has gone — kind of the same direction that so many other parts of the country have gone — I have to accept that,” Murkowski added. “But I’m going to give them the option… Maybe I am just completely politically naïve, and this ship has sailed. But I won’t know unless we — unless I — stay out there and give Alaskans the opportunity to weigh in.”

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