Republican Kelly Tshibaka has won the backing of both the Alaska Republican Party and former President Donald Trump in her run for the United States Senate seat currently occupied by Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski is one of the most left-leaning Republicans in the Senate and is generally more sympathetic to Democrats, raising speculation about her future within a party which she is seemingly planning to detach herself from.
Alaska Senate race takes shape
Murkowski considers herself a moderate Republican but publicly tends to align more with the Democrats. Along with Maine Senator Susan Collins she is generally considered to be one of the most liberal of Republican Senators.
She voted to convict in the second impeachment trial of President Trump, who she has frequently opposed very vocally.
Now Trump is aiming to end her lengthy time in the Senate by supporting a challenger in the 2022 election. Murkowski has been in office since 2002.
The Alaska Republican State Central Committee voted overwhelmingly to endorse Kelly Tshibaka on July 10, setting up what may be a fierce primary battle in Alaska.
Trump already expressed his support for Tshibaka last month and the former President has shown a great deal of interest in ensuring that Murkowski does not hold on to her seat.
Tshibaka has a strong lead over other candidates according to polling of likely voters in Alaska. Murkowski comes in a distant third place.
The last term for Murkowski?
A primary defeat for Murkowski seems to be very likely in the generally conservative state. Trump won Alaska twice and his endorsement is sure to make a large impact on the race.
Murkowski was defeated in a primary once before in 2010, forcing her to run as a write in candidate in the general election.
She won that race but now, more than a decade later, the situation has changed significantly for the Alaska Senator. Republican voters appear to heavily favor Tshibaka, the likely nominee.
Victory for Murkowski would require large numbers of Democrats to support her write in candidacy over their own nominee.
With most of the country already questioning why she is still a Republican, including Murkowski herself, Democrats may feel that it is simpler to vote for the candidate endorsed by their own party.
Lisa Murkowski has had a strong hold on her Senate seat ever since she succeeded her father, a former Senator and Governor of Alaska. Now it seems her time in D.C. may finally be coming to an end.