Democrat Files Electoral Challenge To Lisa Murkowski In Alaska


Alaska state Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson (D) has joined the race for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), who is also facing a Trump-backed challenge in the Republican primary. Gray-Jackson would be the first Black woman to hold a U.S. Senate seat from Alaska if she wins the position; the last time that Alaska was represented by a Democrat in the U.S. Senate was in 2015, when Mark Begich left office after losing re-election. In the meantime, Gray-Jackson “criticized Murkowski for not voting for the recent voting rights legislation that came before Congress and for approving non-pro choice Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Juneau Empire notes. Gray-Jackson also cited policy areas including healthcare costs and public safety as particular personal concerns.

Gray-Jackson was elected to the Alaska state Senate in 2018 after serving on a variety of roles for the Anchorage Assembly, which is the governing body for the city of Anchorage, Alaska, the largest city in the state. Her jobs there included director of the Budget and Legislative Services Office. As Gray-Jackson explained it, she “was the first minority to be before the chair when I served on the Anchorage Assembly,” adding: “I’m looking forward to working hard and reaching out to Alaskans so that I can get elected to the U.S. Senate and when I’m elected to the U.S. Senate I’ll make history once again.” Alaska has often leaned towards the Republicans since becoming a state, but shifts in alignment have been and remain possible.

Each and every Senate race in this year’s midterm elections is poised to potentially have an outsized impact on the balance of power in Washington, D.C. At present, the Senate is evenly split, with Democrats and Republicans both holding 50 seats apiece — Democrats are in control because of Vice President Kamala Harris’s role as a tiebreaker, delivering the party an extra vote. Thus, for a single Democratic-held seat to flip to the Republicans when the final results are all assembled would put Mitch McConnell back in control of the chamber, at least to the extent that a Majority Leader has a sort of control. On the reverse, for a single Senate seat that’s currently held by the Republicans to change hands to the Democrats, all other things the same, would make Democratic leaders less reliant on so-called moderates like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to get so many substantial policy proposals actually passed.

The Cook Political Report currently rates three Democratic-held and three Republican-held Senate seats as toss-ups heading into the midterms. Murkowski’s seat is among those that the outlet rates as “solid R,” meaning that they find a high likelihood of the seat staying in Republican control.