In an attempt to continue her nearly 20-year reign in the U.S. Senate, Lisa Murkowski formally announced plans to seek reelection in 2022, despite strong opposition from her own party in Alaska.
Murkowski’s Nov. 12 opening campaign ad claims that while “political winds sway back and forth,” she represents “strong, principled leadership – a one-of-a-kind senator who understands our needs.” These claims will likely come under serious scrutiny given that Alaska Republicans have already rejected her candidacy, citing a betrayal of conservative principles.
In March, three quarters of the Alaska Republican Party State Central Committee voted to censure Murkowski for a litany of grievances indicating she has drifted far from the mission and vision of the GOP over the past two decades.
In the past year alone, she voted to impeach President Trump, opposed efforts to protect women’s sports from transgender biological males, voted to confirm a radical LGBTQ activist for Health and Human Services and joined Democrats to confirm anti-oil-development Deb Holland as Interior secretary. She’s also an enthusiastic supporter of Planned Parenthood’s abortion agenda, which includes the right to kill unborn babies at any time and for any reason.
Despite opposition from most Alaska Republicans, Murkowski initial campaign ad asserts she has “earned the respect of her colleagues in both parties,” and claims she is committed to “cutting through the partisan gridlock and disfunction in Washington.”
Murkowski has shown to be an increasingly reliable vote for Democrats in the evenly split U.S. Senate, often times breaking with nearly all Republicans to support radical federal judges, abortion and massive left-wing spending measures like President Biden’s $1.2 trillion so-called “infrastructure bill.” She’s also the only Senate Republican to side with Democrats in support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, a bill that would allow left-wing activists to utilize the courts and Department of Justice to stop any state or local election authority from enacting voting laws to ensure vote integrity. It would also grant the federal government the ability to interfere in political precincts and eventually federalize state and local election protocols.
Murkowski’s campaign ad makes no mention of her vote to confirm the anti-oil Holland as head of the Interior Department, but it does say Murkowski works to combat climate change while “expanding energy production” in Alaska.
As the ad draws to a close, Murkowski issues a thinly-veiled attack against her chief challenger – the self-proclaimed conservative and pro-life Kelly Tshibaka.
“In this election, Lower-48 outsiders are going to try to grab Alaska’s senate seat for their partisan agendas,” Murkowski quips. “They don’t understand our state, and frankly they couldn’t care less about your future.”
Perhaps in an acknowledgement of her shift to the political left over the past 20 years, Murkowski ends her ad claiming she will “work with anyone with either party to work to advance Alaska’s priorities.”
It’s increasingly clear, however, that Alaska Republicans no longer wish to work with her. A Change Research poll from this summer showed that 59% of Alaskans and 84% of the state’s Republicans have an unfavorable view of Murkowski.
Former President Trump has thrown his support behind Tshibaka and plans to fundraise and visit Alaska to help her defeat Murkowski. While Gov. Mike Dunleavy has not formally endorsed either candidate, he has hinted at backing Tshibaka. In March Dunleavy called Tshibaka smart and hardworking. As for Murkowski he added: “Myself and others don’t always agree with some of the decisions the senator has made.”
Whether a break with Republicans will ultimately derail Murkowski’s bid for a fourth term remains to be seen. Many believe that Alaska’s new ranked choice voting scheme may benefit her, as it does away with all party primaries in favor of a nonpartisan scheme in which the top four candidates go on to the general election. This allows Murkowski to avoid a Republican primary challenge and gives her the chance to draw upon Democratic, Independent and Undeclared voters in order to advance to the general election as one of the top four vote getters.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
Once the top four candidates make it out of the primary, voters will then vote on their first, second, third and fourth place choices in the general election. If one candidate wins a majority of first place votes, they are the automatic winner. If, however, no candidate wins a majority of first-place votes, the candidate with the fewest first place votes is eliminated and all their second-place votes are doled out to the remaining candidates. This process continues until one candidate wins a majority of votes.
In such a scenario, Murkowski could draw a considerable number of second choice votes from Democrats and other liberal leaning voters to cobble together a majority. To date, Murkowski has won three terms as a U.S. senator without ever winning a majority of the vote. She took 48.6% of the vote in 2004, 39.5% in 2010, and 44.4% in 2016.