Murkowski Picks up GOP Primary Challenger

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has picked up a primary challenger weeks after the state’s Republican Party vowed to recruit a candidate to oppose her. 

In a video released on Monday, Kelly Tshibaka said, “We know what Washington, D.C., thinks about Alaska: We’re here for their benefit, and we won’t put up much of a fight. After nearly 20 years in D.C., Lisa Murkowski thinks the same way.”

“But you know what? Nothing scares the D.C. political insiders more than the thought of a strong, independent Alaskan leader in their ranks. One they can’t bully. One they can’t control. One they can’t silence,” she added.

Tshibaka continued to blast Murkowski’s track record in the Senate and accused her of enabling President Joe Biden’s “radical agenda to end drilling and kill Alaska jobs.”

She accused Murkowski of voting to “allow illegal immigrants who violated laws to enter and remain in the country” and against “common sense judges.”

Tshibaka, by contrast, said she would oppose illegal immigration and fight to preserve Alaska’s energy industry and small businesses, while advocating for the Second Amendment and the military.

She also noted Murkowski has been in the Senate for almost 20 years since her father, who was then the governor, appointed her to serve out the remainder of his term in 2002. 

And she blasted the Alaska senator for her vote to preserve Obamacare and to convict former President Donald Trump on the charge of “incitement of insurrection.”

“It is time we had a U.S. senator who represents Alaska to Washington, D.C., rather than one who represents D.C. insiders to Alaska,” Tshibaka added.

Murkowski, who is up for reelection in 2022, was one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump in February. 

The former president was acquitted as 17 Republicans did not cross party lines to vote in favor of conviction. 

REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

The Alaska Republican Party voted to censure Murkowski earlier this month in part based on her impeachment vote.

The party also announced it “will hereby recruit a Republican Party challenger to oppose and prohibit Senator Murkowski from being a candidate in any Republican primary to the extent legally permissible.”

Kris Warren, the author of the resolution, said in a statement, “We’re looking for somebody else to be our U.S. Senator in 2022, and somebody who will be more in line with the Republican philosophy.”

“There’s a number of issues that the party has had with Sen. Murkowski for the last several years which really culminated in the conviction vote of former President Trump,” he added.

Trump has also signaled he plans to travel to Alaska to campaign against Murkowski, as IJR reported.

Un-seating Murkowski may be a tall order even with Tshibaka in the running.

In 2010, Murkowski lost her primary race, but launched a write-in campaign and defeated the Republican and Democratic candidates. 

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