Lisa Murkowski wins Alaska Senate seat over Trump-backed challenger

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a Republican senator who supported the impeachment of former President Donald Trump, defeated opponent Kelly Tshibaka to win reelection to a fourth consecutive full term.

The Washington Examiner reported that as one of the more moderate Republican voices in Congress, Murkowski’s victory might help President Joe Biden advance his agenda and increase her influence in the Senate, which is now evenly divided.

The top two contenders in the four-person contest, Murkowski and Tshibaka, failed to achieve the required 50% threshold for an outright victory, so the winner was determined by ranked choice tabulation, which was made public on Wednesday.

Under that method, Alaskan voters had the option to rank many candidates for each open post rather than choosing just one. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote in the first round of counting, there is a second round of counting, which begins with the candidate receiving the fewest votes in the first round being removed.

Voters would cast their votes for the next candidate in the round if the ousted candidate was their top choice. Up until Murkowski was pronounced the victor, this went on. Tshibaka was defeated by her 54% to 46%.

The seat has been held since 1981

Alaska’s Senate seat has been held by Murkowski since 1981. Frank Murkowski, Murkowski’s father, was the senator representing Alaska prior to her 2002 election.

Murkowski was one of seven Republican senators who defied their party to support Trump’s impeachment on grounds relating to the attack on the Capitol on January 6. When asked if she would support Trump if he ran for government again in 2024, she demanded his resignation and expressed skepticism.

She became one of the most vulnerable Republicans running for reelection in the midterm elections as a result of Trump’s threat to use his political influence to defeat her in revenge.

“I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great state of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski,” Trump said. “She represents her state badly and her country even worse.”

“Disloyal”

He also called her “disloyal” and a “very bad senator.”

Trump fully backed Tshibaka, a former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, rather than supporting Murkowski. To support Tshibaka and former governor Sarah Palin, who ran for the state’s at-large House seat, he even traveled to Anchorage.

“Murkowski’s opponent, Kelly Tshibaka, is a true ‘America First’ patriot who will never stab Alaska voters in the back,” Trump told thousands of Alaskans attending the rally.