Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Trump-backed foe advance to general election
Why it matters: Trump has made unseating Murkowski and other Republican lawmakers who supported his impeachment or conviction over the Jan. 6, 2021 attack a top priority in this year's midterm elections.
Driving the news: Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka, the Trump-backed former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, are expected to finish first and second in the non-partisan blanket primary respectively.
- Under Alaska's new system, four candidates advance in the primary and face off in a ranked-choice general election.
The backdrop: Murkowski, one of the most moderate members of the Senate Republican Conference, stoked Trump's enmity in June 2020 when she said she was "struggling" with whether to support him for reelection.
- Their feud was cemented when Murkowski became one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict him over the Jan. 6 attack last February.
- Tshibaka, who has cast doubt on the results of the 2020 election and vowed not to vote support Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for another term as GOP leader, was endorsed by Trump and the state Republican Party.
- But Murkowski, as a Republican incumbent, retained the support of the Senate GOP's campaign arm and McConnell, as well as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
State of play: The general election is ranked choice, meaning the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated, and their votes are reallocated to voters' second choices. The process repeats until a candidate wins a majority.
- Political observers in the state told Axios the system is expected to benefit moderates like Murkowski, though the fact it's being used for the first time leaves a great deal of uncertainty.
The big picture: Trump has managed to knock off a number of his GOP detractors, including at least four House Republicans who voted for impeachment.
- Overall his endorsement has proven quite potent in contested Republican primaries, though he's had his fair share of misses as well.