Trump Endorses Sen. Murkowski's GOP Primary Challenger in Alaska


Trump Endorses Sen. Murkowski's GOP Primary Challenger in Alaska

In this Sept. 26, 2019 file photo, Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka addresses reporters in Anchorage. (Mark Thiessen/AP)

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's GOP primary challenger Kelly Tshibaka making good on his promise to go after Republican senators who voted to impeach him earlier this year.

''Kelly Tshibaka is the candidate who can beat Murkowski — and she will. Kelly is a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America First,'' Trump said in a statement distributed by his leadership PAC, Save America. 

"She is MAGA all the way, pro-energy, strong on the border, tough on crime and totally supports our military and our great vets. Kelly is a powerful supporter of the second amendment and JOBS! I look forward to campaigning in Alaska for Kelly Tshibaka. She has my complete and total endorsement!''

Murkowski has been in the Senate since 2002 and touts her ability to reach across the aisle to reach ''common sense solutions,'' according to the biography on her Senate website.

She was one of seven Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump earlier this year for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

''On Jan. 13, when the U.S. House of Representatives impeached former President Donald J. Trump for a second time, I committed to upholding my oath as a U.S. Senator — to listen to each side impartially, review all the facts, and then decide how I would vote,'' Murkowski said in a statement at the time. 

''I have done that and after listening to the trial this past week, I have reached the conclusion that President Trump’s actions were an impeachable offense and his course of conduct amounts to incitement of insurrection as set out in the Article of Impeachment.''

Since her vote on impeachment. Murkowski’s approval rating in Alaska has dropped, giving her opponent a double-digit lead.

According to a poll in March conducted by Cygnal, Tshibaka leads Murkowski 33.6% to 18.8%, with Democratic challenger Al Gross coming in third at 17.6%. Twenty-one percent of voters are still undecided.

The poll, which surveyed 500 likely 2022 primary voters via telephone, text, and email and has a margin of error of +/- 4.37 percentage points, found that Murkowski’s vote to impeach Trump, who won Alaska by double digits in the 2020 race, and her opposition to the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh are her two biggest problems with voters.

Tshibaka embraces Trump’s endorsement.

''I am honored, excited, and grateful to have the support of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump,'' Tshibaka said in a statement Friday. ''To have his strong endorsement is great news for our campaign and even better news for the people of Alaska, because it means we will be getting our Senate seat back from Lisa Murkowski.''

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