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Will Democrats Try To Win The Alaska Senate Seat? Or Stop A Trumpist By Saving Murkowski?

Trump's top goal in the 2022 Senate elections is to defeat Alaska incumbent Lisa Murkowski, one of the few Republicans-- and the only one up for reelection next year-- with the guts to vote to convict him in his second impeachment trial. Although there are still whispers that the far right will coalesce around Laura Ingraham or Sarah Palin or Joe Miller, right now, the far right seems very comfortably coalesced around Kelly Tshibaka, who has been endorsed by odious (non-Alaskan) Trump-World figures Bill Stephen, Brad Pascale and Cori Lewandowski.

Murkowski hasn't launched her reelection campaign yet but has already been endorsed by fellow Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, as well as by Mitch McConnell and John Barrasso (R-WY). And, yesterday, by putative Democrat Joe Manchin (WV), who, two years ago bucked his own party to endorse Susan Collins' reelection in Maine.

A while back, we spoke with Democratic strategist and former Al Gross campaign manager, David Keith who told us that "Murkowski allies put Prop 2-- ranked choice voting and a lot of other cryptic election reform-- on the ballot in 2020 and won narrowly by massively outspending the other side. They did so as a sure fire way to reelect Murkowski. However, these 'moderate Republican' types may have actually jeopardized the hopes of a GOP majority because Lisa is so unpopular that a Democrat may out rank her in the top 4 runoff. In this scenario, much of her vote will go to the Democrat, giving that candidate a damn good chance of winning the U.S. Senate seat as the other candidates in the top 4 are likely to be far right wing extremists who won’t be able to garner a final majority. Now it’s time to find a stellar Democratic candidate!"

Manchin didn't wait to find out who the Democrat would be before endorsing Murkowski, but that's Manchin. Many Democrats would like to see Anchorage state Senator Bill Wielechowski run for the seat.

This week, Murkowski bucked her party as well-- voting to end the GOP filibuster against Biden's #3 top-most Justice Department nominee, Vanita Gupta, and subsequently voting to confirm her. Gupta had confirmation in the bag anyway since Kamala was standing by to break the 50-50 tie if all Dems voted for her and all Republicans voted against her. But Murkowski made that unnecessary-- and making the confirmation technically "bipartisan."

After meeting with Gupta earlier, Murkowski was especially impressed with her commitment to working on issues surrounding domestic violence and assault against Native American women, the voting bloc that saved Murkowski's reelection last time when the Republicans tried to oust her. After the meeting, Murkowski said, "I felt that I was speaking to a woman who had not only committed her professional life to try to get the base of these injustices, to try to not just direct a little bit of money, put a program in place, and walk away and call it a day. But to try to truly make a difference."

There's one publicly-available Alaska primary poll so far, which Cygnal did for Tshibaka. It shows Tshibaka significantly ahead. Brock McCleary, Cygnal's VP of polling wrote that "In the new all-party primary construct, Senator Lisa Murkowski faces a very weak image with voters (33% fav / 63% unfav) and negative opinion is especially elevated with Republicans (10% fav / 87% unfav). Kelly Tshibaka leads from the outset in a hypothetical primary ballot for US Senate, before any message testing. Tshibaka’s ballot score peaks among Trump voters (61%), Republicans (61%), and conservatives (59%). Lisa Murkowski is in as weak of a position as an incumbent could possibly find themselves in. A strong Republican candidate is poised to defeat Murkowski."

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