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Image courtesy of Heritage Action for America.

Heritage Action for America, a conservative 501(c)(4), is taking its first shots at an incumbent Republican senator this cycle, hitting Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) with full-page ads for supporting voting rights legislation, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Heritage Action, which can raise unlimited donations, has been engaged in contentious cultural issues, like criticizing Major League Baseball for moving its All-Star Game, as well as the broader debate about voting rights.

  • But it hasn’t been training its fire on Republicans for several years.
  • A decade ago, the group rose to prominence as the political arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and gleefully attacked Republicans for being insufficiently conservative.
  • The attacks on Murkowski may signal a return to its more renegade roots.

The big picture: Murkowski, who voted to impeach President Trump in his second trial, is facing a contested primary in 2022, including a challenge from Kelly Tshibaka, a former commissioner in the state Department of Administration, who has been endorsed by Trump and is planning a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser next year.

  • While Murkowski's primary will be closely watched, her supporters point out that she won a write-in campaign in 2016 after not getting her party's nod.
  • In 2020, voters in Alaska moved towards a more open primary, which will allow the top four finishers into the final round, where they will then be selected by rank choice voting.

Driving the news: Earlier this week, Murkowski joined three Senate Democrats to introduce amendments to the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act as a way to build bipartisan momentum for the legislation, which has been stalled in the Senate.

  • Supporters say the legislation is needed to update federal voting rights laws, while critics insist it amounts to a federal takeover of state laws.
  • The full-page full-color ads will run in Sunday's editions of the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, featuring a letter from 155 Alaskans demanding that Murkowski oppose federal voting rights legislation.

What they are saying: "It is disappointing to see Sen. Murkowski support this blatant power grab from Democrats, taking away power from the people of Alaska and handing control of Alaska’s elections to unelected, federal bureaucrats in Washington," said Heritage Actions Executive Director Jessica Anderson.

Between the lines: Murkowski hasn’t announced running for reelection yet, but her campaign and her leadership PAC have raised almost $6 million and reported some $3.6 million cash-on-hand at the end of the last quarter.

  • She's prepared for both a primary campaign and a general election.

Go deeper

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.

Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.

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