Alaska GOP endorses Trump-backed candidate over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2022 Senate race

Kelly Tshibaka
GOP Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka. AP Photo/Mark Thiessen
  • The Alaska GOP lined up behind Kelly Tshibaka over incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the 2022 Senate race.
  • Trump has pledged to campaign against Murkowski for her vote in support of his second impeachment.
  • Murkowski has served in the Senate since 2002 and has not yet filed for reelection.
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The Alaska Republican Party on Saturday threw its support behind GOP Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka in the 2022 Senate race, bypassing incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The state party backed Tshibaka over Murkowski in a 58-17 vote, according to The Hill.

Tshibaka, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump last month, said in a statement that she was “grateful and thrilled to have the strong support of the Alaska Republican Party.”

“We all share a unified goal: to promote the principles upon which our country and state were founded,” she wrote. “I have pledged that I will be true to our shared, conservative Alaska ideals and be a senator upon whom they can depend to make every decision based on what is best for our great state.”

She added: “It is time for conservative leaders, with courage and common sense, to rise together across the nation.”

While Murkowski has not yet indicated if she will run for a fourth term next year, the state party’s endorsement of Tshibaka reflects the continued internal divisions within the GOP as it relates to Trump.

Murkowski, who has compiled a more moderate record than most of her Senate GOP colleagues, voted to impeach Trump for this role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot earlier this year.

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The former president, still incensed by Murkowski’s vote, has committed to expending resources and time to defeat the senator.

In announcing his support of Tshibaka, the former state commissioner of administration, Trump called Murkowski “bad for Alaska.”

“Murkowski has got to go!,” Trump wrote. “Kelly Tshibaka is the candidate who can beat Murkowski – and she will. Kelly is a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America First. She is MAGA all the way, pro-energy, strong on the Border, tough on Crime and totally supports our Military and our great Vets.”

Tshibaka launched her campaign in March and brought on several alums of the Trump 2020 campaign.

In April, the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, threw its support behind Murkowski.

Despite Trump’s immense pull within the GOP, Murkowski has survived difficult political battles in the past.

She lost her GOP primary to challenger Joe Miller in the Tea Party wave of 2010, only to launch a successful write-in campaign for the general election.

Six years later, Murkowski faced off against Miller again – this time as the official GOP nominee – and easily won.