Sen. Lisa Murkowski and her Trump-backed challenger will both advance to the general election in Alaska, setting up a rematch in November — as Sarah Palin also moved ahead in her bid to win a seat in the US House after Tuesday night’s primaries.
Murkowski was leading her rival Kelly Tshibaka by about 5,000 votes in the state, which for the first time used ranked-choice voting to determine the ballots.
Democrat Patricia Chesbro is also expected to advance in the nonpartisan election for the Senate, but the fourth slot was still undetermined. The top four finishers move on.
Murkowski, seeking her fourth term, found herself facing a challenge by Tshibaka after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump in February 2021 for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and for opposing Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
Palin, who was Sen. John McCain’s GOP running mate in the 2008 presidential election and received an endorsement from Trump, moved on to November along with Republican Nick Begich and Democrat Mary Perolta. The fourth slot was still undecided.
They were competing in a special election to fill the term of the late-Rep. Don Young, who died in March. That term will expire in January.
The winner of the November election will serve a two-year term.
Full results aren’t expected to be in until the end of the month.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Palin said she would fight corruption in Washington if elected to Congress and blasted the state’s new election system as “crazy, convoluted, undesirable.”
“Voters are confused and angry, and feel disenfranchised by this cockamamie system that makes it impossible to trust that your vote will even be counted the way you intended,” Palin, a former governor of the state, said.
“We’ll keep fighting to equip Alaskans with the information they need to make sure their voices are heard amidst this Leftist-crafted system – no matter how hard the corrupt political establishment works to silence us,” she continued in the statement.
Murkowski has said that she was focused on winning in November, but also questioned whether her opponent’s loyalties were to Alaska or Trump.
Because Tshibaka derived her strength from Trump’s endorsement, Murkowski said, “what does that really say about her as a candidate with what she has to offer Alaska? Is it just that she will be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump? I don’t think that all Alaskans are really seeking that. Not the ones that I’m talking to.”
But Tshibaka, the former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, said in a statement that her win Tuesday is the “first step in breaking the Murkowski monarchy’s grip on Alaska, as voters have clearly indicated that it’s time for a change in our representation in the Senate.”
She said that ”Murkowski cares more about her status with the Washington, D.C. insiders than she does about what the people here at home think.”
With Post wires