A contentious election battle pitting incumbent four-term Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) against Kelly Tshibaka, endorsed by Donald Trump, will go to Alaskan voters in the Aug. 16 primary.
Voting in the Ranking Election will take place in person throughout America’s Last Frontier.
The primary ballot has seven Republicans, three Democrats, five independents, two Alaskan Independent Party candidates and one Libertarian.
The top four voters will qualify for the November 8 general election.
In July, data analyst Morning Consult reported that 46% of Alaska voters approved of Murkowski’s job performance.
However, it remains to be seen how that compares to Tshibaka’s growing popularity, endorsed by Trump, with conservative voters in Alaska.
Murkowski took office in 2002 when her father nominated her to his own seat in the US Senate, which he left after being elected governor of Alaska. She is currently the second longest-serving woman in the Senate after Senator Susan Collins of Maine.
“Power and Seniority”
“Every day, I use my seniority, influence and bipartisan connections to advance and secure political victories that benefit our state,” Murkowski said on his campaign website.
“Alaska is important to me because it’s my home and because it’s yours,” she said.
During her tenure, Murkowski said she drafted and passed “the most significant infrastructure law in U.S. history, providing much-needed relief and critical funding to hard-working families and businesses.” in Alaska during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She listed other accomplishments in basing F-35 fighter jets at Eielson AFB in Alaska, supporting “responsible resource development” and renewable energy.
However, she faces a conservative credibility challenge as one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump of incitement in his second impeachment trial after the Jan. 6 protest on Capitol Hill.
Trump flexes the electoral muscle
Trump hopes to test his influence by beating Murkowski in the primaries with his endorsement of Tshibaka.
During a recent stop in Anchorage, Trump called Murkowski “one of the most destructive two-faced senators.”
“Get Murkowski out of here because she’s not a Republican,” Trump told the crowd of about 5,000 supporters.
Murkowski has also drawn ire from conservatives for his co-sponsorship of a bipartisan bill to codify federal abortion protections following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe V. Wade in June.
Tshibaka said she is running to change the Biden administration’s destructive policies.
“We have watched with horror the destruction of our primary industries by President Biden and his radical cabinet members, over 90% of whom have been confirmed by our senator,” Tshibaka said on his website.
“We felt our freedoms stripped and our lands confiscated by federal whims. And we’ve seen jobs and opportunities leave our state because our senator didn’t fight for us in the US Senate.
Tshibaka served as Commissioner of the Alaska State Department of Administration. She has also worked as a Special Assistant to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
She served as Acting Inspector General at the Federal Trade Commission and Deputy Inspector General, and Chief Data Officer at the United States Postal Service.
Polls unclear on predicted winner
Recent polls throughout the campaign have yielded mixed results.
A survey, conducted by research firm Cygnal for Tshibaka’s campaign, found that Tshibaka would beat Murkowski by a slim 2% margin – 51-49.
On the other hand, an Alaska Survey Research poll showed Murkowski benefiting from the new ranking election system, beating his opponent in the third round of the survey.