Lisa Murkowski Defeats Extreme MAGA Candidate After Votes Tallied

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In Alaska, Lisa Murkowski has won re-election to the Senate against Trump-endorsed Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka, who is a former official in Alaska state government.

Murkowski was facing Tshibaka’s challenge after the incumbent Senator’s decision to support Trump’s impeachment following last year’s Capitol riot, although she was already heavily disfavored by certain far-right figures including after she pushed back on the possibility of supporting Trump’s bid for re-election amid concerns about his violence-inclined responses to protests for racial justice across the United States. (She left it relatively open-ended.) She was also resistant to Republican attempts at health care policy and opposed the confirmation of Trump pick Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Alaska used an open primary system for the Senate race in which voters were presented with a single list of candidates, with the top four moving on to the general election.

For the November election, Alaska employed a system known as ranked choice voting in which participants could select multiple candidates and rank their picks. The goal is for somebody to eventually pass 50 percent, and if nobody does that on the first round then the last-place finisher is eliminated with their votes appropriately reallocated. In the Senate race, Murkowski and Tshibaka were left in the final round after Murkowski finished just narrowly ahead in initial results, earning slightly more votes overall. Both candidates were originally in the lower 40s, percentage-wise, with the Democrat in the race nabbing just 10 percent. The final round of tabulations saw Murkowski leading her main challenger by a little over seven percent, which is smaller than the margin by which Alaska Democratic Congresswoman Mary Peltola also won re-election this year in a race against two Republicans who roughly evenly split what remained of the initial vote between them. Peltola, who seems popular, almost passed 50 percent in the first round.

“Thank you, Alaska,” Murkowski said on Wednesday. “I am honored that Alaskans – of all regions, backgrounds and party affiliations – have once again granted me their confidence to continue working with them and on their behalf in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to continuing the important work ahead of us.” Compare how, well, normal that sounds to the tone of one of Trump’s original messages of opposition. “Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don’t care, I’m endorsing. If you have a pulse, I’m with you!” he said in 2020. Donald is, of course, now entering his own electoral battle, with a recently announced presidential primary campaign — the success of which definitely isn’t assured considering the continued political rise of Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. Donald’s Senate candidates also lost this year in swing states including Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona.

Featured image: AFGE/ Creative Commons