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Senator Lisa Murkowski wins re-election in Alaska, defending Trump-backed challenger Kelly Tshibaka

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Senator Lisa Murkowski has won reelection in Alaska, NBC News predicted Wednesday, taking another loss in what has been largely a miserable midterm cycle for his hand-picked candidates in competitive Senate races.

Murkowski, one of only seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, survived a challenge from Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka, a former Alaska Department of Administration commissioner.

“I am honored that Alaskans – of all regions, backgrounds and party supporters – have reaffirmed their confidence in me to continue to work with them and on their behalf in the U.S. Senate,” Murkowski said. tweeted Wednesday night. “I look forward to continuing the important work ahead.”

Murkowski’s re-election victory came in the state first Senate race to be decided by elective vote.

Rather than limiting voters to one choice, the format allows candidates to be ranked in order of preference. Neither Murkowski nor Tshibaka, the top two voters in the first round of the November 8 general election, had a majority after the first choices were tabulated, leading to runoffs on Wednesday in which ballots containing eliminated candidates were reallocated to the next voter’s choices.

Murkowski, Tshibaka, Democrat Patricia Chesbro and Republican Buzz Kelley all emerged from a nonpartisan primary in August. Kelley later dropped out and supported Tshibaka, but he stayed on the ballot. Wednesday’s runoff began with the second-choice votes of those favoring last-place Kelley being split among the remaining three candidates. Chesbro was subsequently eliminated and the second-choice votes from her ballots helped push Murkowski over the threshold.

Acknowledging her loss, Tshibaka congratulated Murkowski in a statement Wednesday night, while criticizing Alaska’s voting system.

“It is clear from the ranked electoral tables that Senator Lisa Murkowski has been re-elected, and I congratulate her on that,” Tshibaka said. protection program, and it clearly worked as intended.”

From the start, the race has largely revolved around the two leading Republicans and their relationship with Trump.

Tshibaka, for example, had made waves by pledging not to support another Trump foil, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for another term as GOP Senate leader if elected.

In her statement Wednesday, Tshibaka accused McConnell of “spending millions of dollars in this race on deceptive advertising to secure what he wanted — a minority in the Senate he can control, as opposed to a majority he couldn’t.”

Murkowski became a target for the right after she emerged as a rare Republican officeholder willing to criticize and ultimately condemn Trump for what she said was his instigation of the deadly riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Republican Party of Alaska censored she and Trump began calling her the “disaster from Alaska”, eventually supporting Tshibaka in challenging her.

Murkowski is also known for her moderate profile in the Senate and for her willingness to work with Democrats. She was one of only three Republicans to vote in April to confirm Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. She also gave her party other big voices during the Trump administration, voting with the Democrats and a handful of other Republicans to block the GOP’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In a recent campaign ad Murkowski summarized her closing argument, pledging to “work with everyone, on both sides, to advance Alaska’s priorities.”

Proponents of rank-based voting, a system that gained national attention for its use in last year’s New York City mayoral election, believe the lineup favors moderate candidates who don’t play on the fringes of either party and working hardest to appeal to the broadest group of voices. people.

In the race for Alaska’s seat in the big House, incumbent Representative Mary Peltola, a Democrat, was elected to a full two-year term, defeating Republican Sarah Palin, the former governor and vice presidential nominee, NBC News predicted .

Peltola had already made history in August, becoming the first native Alaskan to sit in Congress after winning the special election to replace longtime GOP Representative Don Young, who died in March at age 88. Young and the GOP held the seat for nearly five decades before her victory.


Zoe Richards contributed.


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