Trump endorses Murkowski challenger in Alaska Senate race

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Former President Donald Trump had promised to endorse a Republican challenger to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. On Friday, he kept that promise.

Trump announced his support for Kelly Tshibaka, Alaska’s former commissioner of the Department of Administration.

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“Lisa Murkowski is bad for Alaska,” his statement read. “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. Kelly is a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America First.”

Trump rebuked Murkowski for her vote to confirm Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who, earlier this month, suspended the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling leases. Fellow GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan also supported Haaland’s nomination.

The former president also said he “look[s] forward to campaigning in Alaska” for Tshibaka.

In a subsequent statement, Tshibaka thanked the former president for his support and said “Murkowski’s career is in its twilight now, and it’s because of her own record.”

Last year, Alaskan voters approved a voting measure to create a top-four primary system in which all candidates running for a given office will face off against each other, regardless of party affiliation. That likely benefits Murkowski's chances for her fourth term because all eligible voters will participate in the vote instead of her having to face a primary made up of an overwhelmingly pro-Trump base.

Tshibaka and her campaign have been surrounded by members of the Trump orbit, knowing that the former president has long said he planned to work to get Murkowski out of the Senate.

"I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great State of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski. She represents her state badly and her country even worse," Trump said in early March. "I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be — in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad Senator."

Trump visited Alaska in 2019 on his return from Hanoi, Vietnam, which was the site of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. While there, he addressed troops stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

National Public Affairs, a consulting firm that consists of former Trump campaign staffers such as campaign manager Bill Stepien, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark, and battleground states director Nick Trainer, all serve as senior advisers to the Alaska challenger, according to Politico. Fellow Trump 2020 alum communications director Tim Murtaugh is also serving as a senior communications adviser.

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The feud between Murkowski and Trump dates back to her decision not to support the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and includes her opposition to the former president’s nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

The Alaska senator was also censured by her state’s Republican Party because she was one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial, which came in response to the Capitol riot.

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Tags: News, Lisa Murkowski, Donald Trump, Alaska, Alaska Senate race, 2022 Elections

Original Author: Mike Brest

Original Location: Trump endorses Murkowski challenger in Alaska Senate race

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