Murkowski advances in Alaska Senate election, while Palin is elected to the House.
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski advanced from her primary, as did Kelly Tshibaka, her GOP opponent endorsed by former President Donald Trump, while another Trump-backed candidate, Republican Sarah Palin, was among those advancing to the November general election for Alaska's sole House seat.
Murkowski had voiced optimism that she would proceed, telling reporters earlier in the day that "what matters is winning in November." Tshibaka referred to the findings as "the first step toward unraveling the Murkowski monarchy's grip over Alaska." Tshibaka also expressed gratitude for "President Trump's strong and steadfast support for Alaska."
Murkowski has served in the Senate since 1981. It was her father, Frank Murkowski, who served in the Senate before Lisa Murkowski, who has been there since late 2002.
Party primaries have been eliminated, and ranked choice voting is being utilized in general elections for the first time in Alaska elections this year, according to a voter-approved elections procedure. The top four primary vote-getters, regardless of party membership, will advance to the general election.
The other two Senate seats were still up for grabs.
Murkowski voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, which will take place after the January 6, 2021, insurgency. Trump was found not guilty. But he has been harsh on Murkowski, labeling her "the worst" during a rally in Anchorage last month.
Murkowski stated that if Tshibaka's only source of strength is Trump's endorsement, "What does that say about her as a candidate and what she can provide Alaska? Is she just going to be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump? I don't believe all Alaskans are looking for it. Not the ones I'm addressing."
Tshibaka's campaign co-chair Kevin Durling said Trump's endorsement was an extra advantage for him. He emphasized Tshibaka's dedication to business and family, as well as her beliefs. He voiced his displeasure with Murkowski over the impeachment vote and her support for Interior Secretary Deb Haaland's candidacy.
Democrat Mary Peltola, Palin, and Republican Nick Begich advanced to the November election in the House primary. It was too soon to call the fourth position. The winner of the November election will serve a two-year term.
Peltola, Begich, and Palin were also running in a special election to finish out the term of late-Rep. Don Young, which expires early next year. Young passed away in March.
The special election was voters' first opportunity to participate in ranked voting in a statewide campaign. The special election winner may not be known until at least August 31. Peltola would be the first Alaska Native woman elected to the House if she is successful.
In the special election, there were numerous write-in candidates, including Republican Tara Sweeney, who was also running in the House primary. Sweeney served as the United States Interior Department's Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs during the Trump administration.
The special election was on one side of the ballot, with primary races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor and lieutenant governor, and legislative seats on the other.
Palin termed it "the first test case of the stupid, complex, undesired ranked-choice voting method" in a statement Tuesday evening.
Supporters of ranked voting argue that it fosters constructive campaigning, although the House contest has taken on ugly tones at times.
Begich, a businessman from a renowned Democratic family, has gone out strongly against Palin, portraying her as a celebrity seeker and a quitter; Palin resigned as governor in 2009.
The narrator of one Begich commercial claims that Alaska has endured "years of calamities," including fires and COVID-19. "One calamity we can actually avoid is Sarah Palin," the narrator continues.
In one of Palin's advertisements, the narrator refers to Begich as "negative Nick" and says Palin wants to serve in Congress "to continue Don Young's torch."
Peltola, a former legislator who most recently served on a committee tasked with rebuilding salmon resources on the Kuskokwim River, has positioned herself as a consensus builder.
She stated that one quality that will help her be a good representative is her intelligence "I am not a wealthy. I am just like any other normal Alaskan, and I am well aware of the economic challenges that Alaskans confront. My priorities are those of ordinary Alaskans."
She stated in an early Wednesday statement that while the results of the special election would not be known for some time, "We're getting closer to the main election. We will build on this momentum to form a coalition of Alaskans capable of winning in November."
Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy progressed in the contest for Alaska governor, as did former Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, and Democrat Les Gara. It was too soon to call the fourth position.
In a statement, Dunleavy and his running buddy, Nancy Dahlstrom, stated "is merely the beginning of the campaign. We'll look at all of the figures as they come in over the next few days to see where we need to strengthen our campaign, and we're excited to reach out to every Alaskan and win their support between now and November."
Walker is running with Heidi Drygas, while Gara is running with Jessica Cook.tags:Election results,alaska,Murkowski