JUNE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Republican U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski advanced from her primary along with Kelly Tshibaka, her GOP rival endorsed by former President Donald Trump, while another Trump-backed candidate, Republican Sarah Palinwas among the candidates running for November’s general election for the sole seat of the House in Alaska.
Murkowski had expressed confidence that she would continue, telling reporters earlier in the day that “the most important thing is to win in November.” Tshibaka called the results “the first step in breaking the Murkowski monarchy’s hold on Alaska.” Tshibaka also said she was grateful “for the strong and unwavering support that President Trump has shown to Alaska.”
A Murkowski has held the Senate seat since 1981. Before Lisa Murkowski, who has been in the Senate since late 2002, it was her father, Frank Murkowski.
Under a voter-approved electoral process Used for the first time this year in Alaska’s election, the party primaries have been dropped and the general election is voted by rank. The top four votes in a primary, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.
The other two places in the Senate race were too early to call.
Murkowski voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial following the January 6, 2021 uprising. Trump was acquitted. But he has had strong words for Murkowski, calling her “the worst” at a rally in Anchorage last month.
Murkowski said that if Tshibaka derives any strength from Trump’s endorsement, “what does that really say about her as a candidate with what she has to offer Alaska? Is it just that she will be a stamp for Donald Trump? I don’t think all Alaskans are really looking for that. Not the ones I’m talking to.”
Kevin Durling, co-chair of Tshibaka’s campaign, said Trump’s endorsement of Tshibaka was an added bonus for him. He said Tshibaka’s dedication to business and family and her values were important to him. He expressed his frustration with Murkowski for the impeachment vote and for her support for the appointment of Home Secretary Deb Haaland.
In the House primary, Democrat Mary PeltolaPalin and Republican Nick Begicho through to the November elections. It was too early to name fourth place. The winner of the November race will be chosen for a two-year term.
Peltola, Begich and Palin also entered a special election to serve the rest of the deceased representative. Don Young term, which ends early next year. Young died in March.
The special election was voters’ first chance at ranked votes in a statewide race. The winner of the special election may not be known until at least August 31. If successful, Peltola would be the first Alaska Native woman elected to the House.
There were also several entry candidates in the special election, including Republican Tara Sweeney, who also participated in the House of Representatives. Sweeney was an Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the United States Department of the Interior during the Trump administration.
The special election was on one side of the vote; the other side contained primary races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor and lieutenant governor, and legislative seats.
Palin called this “the first test case of the crazy, convoluted, unwanted ranked-choice voting system” in a statement Tuesday night.
Supporters of ranked voting have said it encourages positive campaigning, but the House race has taken on harsh notes at times.
Begich, a businessman from a family of prominent Democrats, has been tough on Palin, trying to cast her as a fame-seeker and a quitter; Palin stepped down during her tenure as governor in 2009.
In a Begich ad, the narrator says Alaska has faced “years of disasters,” including fires and COVID-19. “Sarah Palin is a disaster that we can actually avoid,” says the narrator.
A narrator in one of Palin’s ads refers to Begich as “Negative Nick” and says Palin wants to serve in Congress “to carry Don Young’s torch”.
Peltola, a former lawmaker who most recently served on a committee whose goal is to rebuild salmon stocks on the Kuskokwim River, has established himself as a consensus builder.
She said one thing that would help her be a good sales rep is that she’s “not a millionaire.” I am just like any other regular Alaskan and I understand first hand the economic difficulties that Alaskans face. My priorities are the priorities of everyday Alaskans.”
In a statement early Wednesday, she said that while the results of the special election will not be known for some time, “we are on our way to the general election. We’re going to build on this momentum and build a coalition of Alaskans that can win in November.”
In the Race for Alaska Governor, Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy advanced, as did former Governor Bill Walkeran independent and democrat Les Gara. It was too early to name fourth place.
Dunleavy and his running mate, Nancy Dahlstrom, said in a statement that this is “just the start of the race. We will be diving into all the numbers in the coming days to find out where to support our campaign, and we look forward to reach all Alaskans and earn their vote between now and November.”
Walker runs with Heidi Drygas and Gara with Jessica Cook.