Alaska’s Republican Party is officially backing Kelly Tshibaka’s primary challenge of incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, voting 58-17 to endorse the challenger.
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Tshibaka after his long-fraught relationship with Murkowski disintegrated further over her decision to vote to convict the former president at his second impeachment trial earlier this year. Trump vowed to campaign against “a disloyal and very bad Senator” in March and announced he would not be endorsing the 20-year incumbent “under any circumstances.”
The moves comes after Murkowski was censured by the state party in March, resulting in the state party vowing to “recruit a Republican Party challenger to oppose and prohibit Senator Murkowski from being a candidate in any Republican primary.”
Trump has repeatedly voiced his support to oust Murkowski:
In a June statement announcing his support for her challenger, Trump slammed Murkowski for her vote to confirm Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who suspended drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“Her vote to confirm Biden’s Interior Secretary was a vote to kill long sought for, and approved, ANWR, and Alaska jobs. Murkowski has got to go! Kelly Tshibaka is the candidate who can beat Murkowski — and she will,” Trump said. “Kelly is a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America First.”
Early polling shows that Murkowski is in danger of losing the race, with 39% of respondents indicating they Tshibaka compared to 19% who support the incumbent Republican.
But Murkowski has shown in the past an ability to overcome primary defeats, having lost the 2010 Republican primary before launching a successful write-in campaign that led to a general election victory.
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