Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka advance to Alaska Senate contest

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a centrist Republican running for a full fourth term in Washington, has been working her way up to a general election with main challenger Kelly Chibaka in the US Senate primaries. state, according to the Associated Press.

Ms Murkowski and Ms Tshibaka secured enough votes to qualify for the fall general election under Alaska’s new open primary election system. Ms Murkowski is hoping to prevent a conservative backlash after her Senate voted to impeach former President Donald J. Trump for inciting an attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Ballots are still being counted, and the other two candidates will also go through the state’s top four system, but it’s not clear which one.

Murkowski, 65, is the only Senate Republican to vote to convict Trump in an impeachment trial this year. He has been open about his frustration with Mr Trump’s influence in the Republican Party, although he remains a supporter of the Senate Republican campaign.

He has also repeatedly crossed the aisle to support bipartisan compromise and Democratic candidates, including nominating Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court and confirming Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior. And she is one of only two Senate Republicans to support abortion rights and has expressed dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision to rule Roe v. to overthrow Wade, a decision that abolished the constitutional right to abortion after nearly 50 years.

This position angered state and local Republicans, and his impeachment vote earned him a no-confidence motion from the Alaska Republican Party. Trump, angered by his impeachment vote, urged his supporters to unite in support of Chibaka, the former Alaska Management Board commissioner who is running as an “America First” candidate and can better represent conservatives in the state.

“It is clear that we are at a point where the next Senator can either support Alaska or continue to facilitate the Biden administration that brings havoc that hurts us more and more every day,” Chibaka wrote in an essay. opinion piece published a few days before the primer. “When I become the next Alaskan Senator, I will never forget the Alaskan people who voted for me, and I will always support the values ​​of the people of this great state.”

But the new open primary system, combined with the use of preferential voting in elections, was designed in part with centrist candidates like Murkowski and backed by his allies in popular, independent states.

November voters can rank their top four candidates. If neither candidate wins a majority, officials will screen the latter and redistribute their supporters’ votes to the second choice of voters until a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

Although she had never crossed that threshold in previous elections, Ms Murkowski has overcome a difficult hurdle: in 2010 she won by a written campaign after a stunning major defeat to a tea party challenger. This victory was largely due to the coalition of Alaskan Natives and centrists.

Murkowski uses his seniority and bipartisan credentials to get his point across to Alaskan voters, noting the billions of dollars he has funneled into the state through his role on the National Appropriations Committee. The Senate and its role in passing the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. .

He displayed his friendship with Democrats such as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III and the legacy of Alaska lawmakers such as former Senator Ted Stevens and Congressman Don Young, who died in March, to show that his style in Congress still resonates. Place has laws. .

“You have to point out that there are other possibilities, that there are other realities – and maybe that doesn’t work,” Ms. Murkowski in an interview earlier this year. “Maybe I was really politically naive and the ship has sailed.” But I won’t know unless we – except for me – stand up and give Alaskans a chance to speak.

But her rivals tried to capitalize on Ms. Murkowski in both parties. Chibaka not only called him too liberal for the state, but he lashed out with burning hatred for how Ms. Murkowski, Frank, chose him to finish his term as a senator when he became governor in 2002.

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