Murkowski and Peltola win reelection in Alaska races

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Rep. Marie Peltola have both defeated Trump-endorsed challengers to win reelection in Alaska.

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Murkowski defeated GOP opponent Kelly Tshibaka, who had the endorsement of former President Trump, in the November 8 ranked-choice election. The results were announced on Wednesday, after election officials tabulated the results by rank as no candidate had won more than 50% of the first-choice vote. Murkowski finished with 54% after taking the majority of votes cast for Democrat Pat Chesbrough, who was omitted from the final count.

“I am honored that Alaskans of all regions, backgrounds and party affiliations have once again trusted me to continue working with them and on their behalf in the US Senate,” Murkowski said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing the important work ahead of us.”


Tshibaka congratulated Murkowski in a statement that also took issue with ranked-choice voting.

“The new election system has been frustrating for many Alaskans, because it was unquestionably designed as an incumbent-protection program, and it clearly worked as intended,” she said.

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The race also included Republican Buzz Kelly, who suspended his campaign after the August primary and endorsed Tshibaka.

In Alaska’s lone US House race, Democrat Peltola was elected to a full term, months after winning a special election for the seat vacated when longtime Republican Rep. Don Young died earlier this year. It was done.

Peltola defeated Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, and Libertarian Chris Bye. Palin and Begich were also defeated by him in the special election.

Peltola, who is Yupik, became the first Alaska Native in Congress and the first woman to hold an Alaskan House seat when she won in August. The victory boosted his fundraising, outpacing his rivals in the lead-up to this month’s midterm elections.

Peltola embraced Young’s legacy as he campaigned for a two-year term. He was supported by his daughters, and one of them presented him with Young’s bolo tie at an Alaska Federation of Natives convention, where Peltola was treated like a rock star. Young held the seat for 49 years.

“Now I’m a real Congressman for all of Alaska,” she said. Young often referred to himself as such. Peltola describes his legacy as being bipartisan and building support for Alaska’s interests in Congress.

A state legislator from the small rural center of Bethel for 10 years, ending in 2009, Peltola surprised many with his fourth-place finish in the June special primary. She emerged from a field of 48 candidates that included sitting state and local level officials. That ending was enough to send him into the special election.

Murkowski faces a tough race as the only Senate Republican on the ballot this year to vote to convict Trump in the 2021 impeachment trial. Trump was not convicted, but Murkowski’s vote was a sore point for the former president, who has vowed to campaign against her.

In 2020, before that year’s election and before Tsuhibaka jumped into the Senate race, Trump announced plans to campaign against Murkowski: “Make any candidate, good or bad, I don’t care, I’m supporting. If you have a pulse, I’m with you!

In July, he appeared at an Anchorage rally for Tshibaka and Palin, whom he also endorsed in their run for an Alaska House seat. Trump also participated in a tele-rally for Tshibaka in late October.

Tshibaka, who worked in the federal inspectors general’s offices before leading the Alaska Department of Administration for two years, credited Trump with increasing his name recognition and helping boost his candidacy.

Murkowski, who was censured last year by state Republican Party leaders for crimes including her impeachment vote, paid little attention to Trump during a campaign in which she emphasized her willingness to work across party lines and touted her record and seniority. focused on. A moderate who has been in the Senate since 2002, she became the most senior member of Alaska’s congressional delegation when Young died in March.

Murkowski has experience running for re-election. He won a general election write-in campaign in 2010 after losing his party primary to a Tea Party Republican, and has never won a general election with more than 50% of the vote.

This year’s elections were held under a new system approved by voters in 2020, replacing party primaries with open primaries and establishing ranked voting in general elections. Under the open primary system, the top four vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.

“Our Alaska US Senate election proved to be another victory for Washington, DC insiders who rarely have our best interests at heart,” Tshibaka said in his statement after the election.

Tshibaka has also criticized a super PAC aligned with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for running ads against him; She said those resources could have been used to help Republicans in other states.

She said she placed “in the red,” or Republican candidates on her ballot—but not in the Senate race. She said that she does not consider Murkowski to be a “red” candidate.

Murkowski said on election day, “I didn’t vote for him.”

Associated Press writer Mark Thiessen in Anchorage contributed to this report.


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