“Kelly Tshibaka, a Republican challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), says she will not support Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as GOP leader, the second Senate hopeful to oppose McConnell as other Republicans publicly attack him to further align themselves with former president Donald Trump,” the Washington Post reports.
CNN: “Murkowski took aim at her would-be GOP challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, over the candidate’s ties to Alaska in an interview with CNN, an opening salvo in what could emerge as the most high-profile proxy war between Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump in next year’s midterms.”
“Murkowski alluded to a state investigation into whether Tshibaka illegally obtained a fishing license for a sportfishing event in 2019 because she had not lived in the state for the previous 12 months.”
A new Alaska Survey Research poll shows — on the first ballot — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) leading the U.S. Senate race with 36%, followed by Kelly Tshibaka (R) at 27%, Elvi Gray-Jackson (D) at 19%, and Joe Miller (R) at 18%.
On the final ballot, Murkowksi beats Tshibaka 55% to 45%.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) said she may yet jump back into politics, teasing the possibility of a Senate run in 2022 against incumbent Lisa Murkowski, the New York Post reports.
Said Palin: “If God wants me to do it I will.”
Alaska Wildlife Troopers are investigating whether U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka (R) illegally obtained a resident sportfishing license for a Kenai River sportfishing event in 2019, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
“The Alaska Republican State Central Committee on Saturday endorsed Kelly Tshibaka in the 2022 race for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Lisa Murkowski,” the Anchorage Daily News reports.
“Tshibaka’s endorsement was approved by the committee in a 58-17 vote.”
“It doesn’t surprise me. The president has said, you know, that he’s gonna endorse anybody that has a pulse. This, apparently, is somebody with a pulse.’
— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), quoted by Politico, on former President Trump endorsing challenger Kelly Tshibaka (R).
Henry Olson: “Alaska has eliminated party primaries entirely. Instead, all candidates from all parties will appear together on one primary ballot, and the top four candidates regardless of party advance to the general election.”
“This system opens the way for 2020 candidate Al Gross, or another strong Democrat, to win even if Tshibaka gets a plurality on the first count. Both the 2016 election results and polling show that Murkowski’s support overlaps with voters who would normally vote Democratic.”
A new Change Research poll in Alaska finds Kelly Tshibaka (R) leading the U.S. Senate race on the initial ballot with 39%, followed by Al Gross (D/I) by 25%, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) by 19%.
Alaska will used a ranked-choice ballot this year so a second choices would matter.
Kelly Tshibaka (R), who is challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in 2022, once wrote in support of an “ex-gay” Christian organization that promoted discredited “conversion therapy” and said that homosexuality was caused by “sexual molestation during childhood,” CNN reports.
Tshibaka also urged gay people to “not be controlled by the ‘once-gay-always-gay-rhetoric’ used to advance political agendas” and said that gay people can instead “come out of homosexuality” with the help of Jesus Christ.
Al Gross, the independent who ran for US Senate in Alaska in 2020 with backing from state and national Democrats and broke fundraising records but lost to Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), told Inside Elections that he is considering another run for the Senate in 2022.
The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC run by allies of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, endorsed Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for re-election on Friday, Axios reports.
An internal poll commissioned by Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R) primary opponent, Kelly Tshibaka (R), shows the challenger leading in the all-party, open primary by 15 points over the three-term incumbent.
Tshibaka, who recently hired Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien and deputy campaign manager Justin Clark to run her campaign, leads 34% to 19%, while Al Gross, who ran as an independent last year, pulls 18%.
Politico: “Kelly Tshibaka has tapped National Public Affairs, a consulting firm made up of Trump’s top 2020 campaign advisers, to help oversee her effort. Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark and battleground states director Nick Trainer, who relaunched the firm after the presidential election, will serve as Tshibaka’s senior advisers.”
“The candidate has also signed on Tim Murtaugh, who was communications director on Trump’s reelection effort, to serve as a senior communications adviser. Mary Ann Pruitt, an Alaska-based political consultant who was a senior figure on Murkowski’s successful 2016 reelection campaign, has abandoned the senator and is working for Tshibaka.”
Kelly Tshibaka (R), who has led the Alaska Department of Administration since early 2019, announced plans to seek the Alaska U.S. Senate seat that has been held since 2002 by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), the Anchorage Daily News reports.
“The landscape for the 2022 elections in Alaska will be different. A voter initiative passed in November scrapped party primaries for a system in which the top four vote-getters advance to the general election. It also instituted a ranked-choice voting system for general elections.”
☑️ Life in the Middle: Marginalized Moderate Senators In the Era of Polarization is available on Amazon. It takes a deep dive into the power of moderates and why we see them behave so precariously.