Murkowski and Palin Advance in Alaska Primary

This year marks the state's first use of ranked-choice voting
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 17, 2022 8:03 AM CDT
Murkowski and Palin Advance in Alaska Primary
U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka joins Donald Trump on stage during a rally at the Alaska Airlines Center on July 9, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. Tshibaka is seeking to become one of four candidates to advance in the U.S. Senate race during Alaska's primary election Tuesday, Aug. 16.   (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski advanced from her primary along with Kelly Tshibaka, her GOP rival endorsed by former President Trump, while another Trump-backed Republican, Sarah Palin, was among the candidates bound for the November general election in the race for Alaska's only House seat. Per the AP, Murkowski had expressed confidence that she would advance and earlier in the day told reporters that “what matters is winning in November.” Tshibaka said she was thankful for Trump’s “strong and unwavering support” and called the results “the first step in breaking the Murkowski monarchy’s grip on Alaska.” Lisa Murkowski has held her Senate seat since 2002; prior to that, her father Frank Murkowski had held it since 1981.

Under a voter-approved elections process being used for the first time in Alaska elections this year, party primaries have been scrapped and ranked-choice voting is being used in general elections. The top four vote-getters in a primary race, regardless of party affiliation, are to advance to the general election. The other two places in the Senate race were too early to call. Murkowski voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Trump was acquitted, but he has had strong words for Murkowski, calling her “the worst" during a rally last month in Anchorage. Murkowski said that if Tshibaka derives her sole strength from Trump’s endorsement, “what does that really say about her as a candidate with what she has to offer Alaska?”

In the House primary, Democrat Mary Peltola, Palin, and Republican Nick Begich advanced to the November election. It was too early to call the fourth spot. Peltola, Begich, and Palin were also competing in a special election to serve the remainder of the late-Rep. Don Young's term, which ends early next year. Young died in March. The special election was voters' first shot at ranked voting in a statewide race. The winner of the special election may not be known until at least Aug. 31. If successful, Peltola would be the first Alaska Native woman elected to the House. (Read more Lisa Murkowski stories.)

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