Alaska Republicans on Saturday officially endorsed primary challenger Kelly Tshibaka over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski for the 2022 Senate race.
“I am honored to be Endorsed by the Alaska Republican Party,” Tshibaka said in a Twitter post announcing the endorsement. “In the Senate, I will always fight for our conservative values.”
Tshibaka will face Murkowski in the GOP primary, which will be different in the 2022 election cycle with ranked choice voting.
Under the new law, the top four candidates in the primaries will advance to the general election ballot, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Murkowski, a self-proclaimed “moderate” who has served in the Senate since 2002, has been under fire among her fellow Republicans in the state for being one of seven GOP Senators that voted to convict then President Donald Trump on impeachment charges relating to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“This was consequential on many levels, but I cannot allow the significance of my vote to be devalued by whether or not I feel that this is helpful for my political ambitions,” Murkowski said at the time.
The Senate acquitted Trump on the charges, but Murkowski continues to receive political backlash for her role in the case.
The state voted for Trump in the 2020 election 52-42 percent over Democrat Joe Biden.
In January, the state’s GOP Party voted to censure Murkowski and Trump has said he is backing Tshibaka in the race.
“Kelly Tshibaka is the candidate who can beat Murkowski — and she will,” Trump said in June. “Kelly is a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America first. “I look forward to campaigning in Alaska for Kelly Tshibaka. She has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
Despite losing the party line on the ballot, Murkowski said she will continue to represent the people of the state in the United States Senate.
“I have and will continue to fight for Alaskan values in the US Senate,” Murkowski said in an email Saturday. “Alaskan voters will decide who represents them in DC and I work every day to earn their support.”
Murkowski has won before without the support of the state party.
According to OpenSecrets.org, she lost the party line in the 2010 GOP primary to Tea Party candidate Joe Miller but went on to win the general election with as a write-in candidate with a 10,000-vote plurality.
Other candidates in the field for the Senate seat include, Republicans Sam Little and Karl Speights, as well as Independents Dustin Darden and Huhnkie Lee.
Alaska Republican Party leaders did not respond to comment requests for this story by the deadline.
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