Aug 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Trump-backed foe advance to general election

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, wearing a blue dress, walks past a Capitol Police officer into a Republican lunch at the U.S. Capitol.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and her Trump-endorsed rival will both advance to the November general election for U.S. Senate, according to AP.

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.

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.
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