Commentary: There’s no excuse for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s attack on Alaska GOP candidate Kelly Tshibaka

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By SUZANNE DOWNING

Sen. Mitch McConnell has no excuse. The ads his political group is producing to attack Alaska Republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka are beyond the pale.

Campaign attacks intensify in October because as the election runway gets shorter, it takes a sharp message to catch voters’ attention and seal the deal. But the money being spent by McConnell and his Senate Leadership Fund to attack a fellow Republican — one who may win and join the Senate to be his colleague — should shock the sensibilities of all conservatives. 

And it is shocking Alaskans, indeed. McConnell’s determination to destroy another Republican’s reputation is driving Alaskans away from the Republican Party because they don’t distinguish the difference between the state Republican Party and the national Republican establishment, which appears to be operating contrary to the wishes of Alaska conservatives.

It’s one thing for the campaigns to attack each other’s candidates. That’s the unfortunate part of campaigning for office, setting forth the “contrast” for voters.

This year, Alaska’s new open primary sent two Republican candidates for Senate to the general election ballot. It’s unprecedented in Alaska and a result of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s allies pushing Ballot Measure 2, so that Murkowski would not have to face a Republican primary and its Murkowski-wary voters again.

Alaskans have never before seen such ugliness from the  GOP, which appears to be attacking its own candidate all the way into November. 

Normally, once the August primary is over, the internecine battle stops, and Republicans gather behind their candidate. Not this year. The battle only intensified in the Republican world, thanks to the Murkowski ballot, allowing her to scoot past Republican voters and head to the general election without them.

Each of these Republican candidates — Murkowski and Tshibaka — brings with her a separate sensibility and set of values for how to legislate. 

On the left hand, we have Murkowski, the elder warhorse of Alaska and American politics, hardened by years of election cycles and heir to the throne given to her by her father, former Sen. and Gov. Frank Murkowski. She knows how to run an effective campaign, and this year her campaign has done a masterful job, amassing millions in donations from around the country and following a clear message arc, where her deliverables in grants and pork are being delivered at just the right time. She has her own super PAC that does attack ads for her, and she has McConnell’s millions that have unleashed the hounds of hell on her Republican challenger.

On the right hand, we have Tshibaka, the upstart Republican who came home to Alaska after working in Washington, D.C. to raise her children in her homeland and to help keep the 49th state from going off the rails. She doesn’t have the millions, but she does have the support of former President Donald Trump, which is something money can’t buy.

Their personal stories are nearly as different as their politics. Murkowski is blue-blood, while Tshibaka comes from hard-scrabble working class, with parents who once lived in a tent to get by. Murkowski is pro-abortion, pro-gun control, and anti-Trump. Tshibaka is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and pro-Trump.

Once McConnell untethered his $6.5 million to destroy Tshibaka, he decided to destroy her completely, and to send a message to any other Republican who would ever dare challenge Murkowski.

McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund has repeatedly lied about Tshibaka. He has accused her of fraud, and clipped and twisted her own words against her, sharing only a fragment of her story. 

Tshibaka, who endured corrupt attacks against her when she was a government watchdog trying to clean up fraud in the federal government, is having her fight for fair government being used against her, as though she was the one who was committing fraud. 

Alaskans don’t know the full story, but here are the Cliffs Notes: Tshibaka’s job in D.C. was to keep federal employees honest, and some of them filed complaints against her in retaliation. Following a full investigation, she was exonerated and was subsequently promoted.

McConnell and the Senate Leadership Fund are lying to Alaskans. And it’s only early October. We can’t wait to hear what trick McConnell pulls next.

This is McConnell using Republican donor money improperly against a fellow Republican, a complete violation of the Reagan Rule. This is also using Republican money against Alaska itself. 

The McConnell scorched-earth war on Alaska seems like punishment against the Alaska Republican Party, which has endorsed Tshibaka, censured Murkowski, and asked Murkowski to leave the party and run under another political banner.

Why would McConnell do that, when both of these Republicans would still be part of the Republican caucus, and when the Alaska Senate race will not make one iota of difference in bringing the Senate back under Republican leadership? Why not focus on Ohio or Arizona, where seats could be flipped? 

Although Murkowski is a 65% reliable Republican vote, when Tshibaka would probably be a 98% reliable Republican vote, they’re both Republican.

It’s become clear that Sen. Mitch McConnell is conducting a proxy war against former President Donald Trump and using Alaska as his political battlefield. McConnell is leaving carnage and destruction in his wake as he plays his political games with the former president.

Alaskans should take note of what these attack ads really represent.: The Swamp at its worst. They don’t represent Alaska values and they don’t improve the quality of our political dialogue. The Alaska Republican Party should step up immediately and denounce McConnell and his attack on their endorsed candidate. If the party doesn’t, then its districts and regions should do so, one at a time. If none do, then the party’s endorsements are worthless.

As for Murkowski, Alaska’s senior senator is complicit in McConnell’s offense against Alaska if she does not also denounce Monstrous Mitch’s campaign against a fellow Republican.

But perhaps Murkowski, too, wishes to destroy the Alaska Republican Party, and Kelly Tshibaka is merely collateral damage.

Suzanne Downing is publisher of Must Read Alaska.

57 COMMENTS

  1. I have heard the ads on the radio while driving, and one word leaps out at me.
    “Likely”…..they claim that Kelly “likely” committed fraud, and I cannot for the life of me understand
    how they can get away with that.
    Kelly needs to sue the hell out of them for this ad, for libel without facts, but the speculation of
    the word “likely”.
    It’s unbelievable that Lisa and Mitch can get away with such a brazen, fact free, speculatory, slanderous
    attack using the word “likely”……

      • The word likely, is an opinion word and while it leads the reader to believe that a sure thing is imminent, it’s up to the reader to make the final determination on when it’s meaning is. Think of it this way, when a weatherman says it’s likely to rain today, most people understand that to me that it will rain, but it leaves that little bit of a chance that it won’t rain. It’s not a definitive word. These mudslingers are good at what they do and their craft is finally honed, gone over by a multitude of lawyers before the print goes to the presses.

    • I agree 110% I had a friend who seen the ad and thought it was all true he said he would never vote for Kelly, When I mentioned that it all starts with the word “Likely ” he realized they were misleading the public.
      Hope people pass this on.

    • Agreed, but also, why would the Republican party attack another Republican candidate? Especially after seeing how Murkowski has been voting, one would think they would go after her…

    • Kelly said she was exonerated yet can produce no federal document that says such says that.

      Lie using the term exonerated…….

  2. The Alaska Republican Party is destroying itself by promoting candidates that do not represent the values of the 73% Alaskans who are not registered Republicans. Alaskans understand the problem is not the Federal government, but Federal employees that cheat and lie. Anyone who believes Kelly T over a Federal Inspector General report is interested in power, not truth and democracy.

    • No, Frank, you are wrong, as usual. The problem IS the federal government itself — its ever-increasing power, its usurpation of authority from the states and municipalities, its belligerent and warmongering foreign policy, and most of all, its capture by the zealots of the radical left, who demand and are asserting expansion of its reach and power over every American.
      .
      Freedom in this country is dying if not dead, and all because of insouciant conformists and lackeys to the status-quo power structure like you. Dissolution of the United States is the only hope of those who value and cherish liberty going forward.

    • You don’t have to be REGISTERED Republican to VOTE Republican..That percentage is misleading. (73%) I AM A conservative; Not A Republican..BUT I VOTE Republican when the candidate that supports my views, which in many cases recently is the Republican views, since the Demon-crats(this is not a misspelled word) have lost their minds. Therefore I believe there ARE Many Conservatives voting Republican..so your commnent doesn’t follow many Alaskans views..
      Susan thanks for your well informed information.

  3. Suzanne, Thank you for a well reasoned piece describing what is really taking place before us. Mitch and Chuckie Schumer are really not that different, it’s all about maintaining their personal power and not representing the respective States that they are supposed to represent in the U.S. Senate.

    One possible solution to this debacle might be to repeal the 17th amendment. The Senate is supposed to represent the States and Senators should be installed by the State Legislatures. This notion of a publicly elected U.S. Senator is a creation of the “Swamp”. It is easier to buy one individual in D.C. thousands of miles from their home State then it is to buy 60 members of the Alaska Legislature. BTW, where did Mitch get that kind of moolah to toss Lisa’s way? Ponder that for a moment. Who benefits from reelecting Princess Lisa?

    The peoples are represented in the U.S. House, members of the House are elected directly by the people.
    Enough said.

  4. Well done! I recall the Alaska Republican Party voted over 70% in favor of booting Lisa from the party and endorsing Kelly. We haven’t heard a peep from the party. It’s almost like the Murkowski Mafia has gotten its hands back in the party and muzzled it.

    • There’s no need to draw attention to themselves. They know that the fix is in and it’s presumably better to just go along quietly to the election, rather than sling a bunch of mud along the way drawing attention to yourself.

  5. I used to support the Álaska Republican Party. But they have been promoting only establishment swamp candidates and have not said much about the constitutional convention. Hard to support.

    • Ak gop probably maintaing a united front with the national republican. The unity looks stronger to enemies/competitors. Its not personal, Its business.

    • Jimbo, here in Kenai the District 7 Republican Committee endorsed a yes vote on a Con-Con (as well as support for the group Convention Yes) and forwarded a request to the State party to do the same. Several of our members have also helped organize informational meetings & rallies once the District endorsed the “yes” position.

    • With all the dark money supporting Lisa and bad mouthing Kelly, how can we follow the money? Alaska is an easy mark for national swamp masters to throw big bucks at to keep Murkowski in office.

  6. Thank you for spilling the beans on McConnell, this needs to be passed on to every Alaskan so they can read it before deciding who to vote for.

  7. Mitch McConnell is the poster child of what is wrong with the Republican Party. He is the swampiest of the DC creatures and will attack and eat his own to hold onto his reigns of power. If the Alaska Republican Party is worth its weight in integrity and stands behind Kelly, they will ignore the DC swamp and step up to the plate to support Kelly and undercut Murkowski. Me thinks this will not happen because of weak knee syndrome.

  8. The title of this article is erroneous. There is a perfectly logical excuse for “McConnell’s attack on Tshibaka.” He is protecting the leftist-Republican’s agenda of taxing and spending to win elections and thereby maintain power and control….. to rinse and repeat forever. He knows allowing any conservative element into his leftist-Republican cabal will threaten its agenda. In summary, his excuse is the promotion of reprehensible, totalitarian, Marxism; but it is an excuse nevertheless.

      • Marxism is a political/economic ideology summarized by Marx and Engels. Conservatism is the philosophy of adhering to established principals. Ergo, one can be a conservative Democrat; a conservative communist (Nikita Krushchev); or a conservative of any stripe. The term is commonly used in America to describe those adhering to traditional free market and religious social values.

        • Epilogue: anyone truly understanding the definition of conservatism knows that most Republicans in congress today are not conservative.

  9. The State party does not have the guts to stand for whats right. PLEASE prove me wrong and do what Suzanne said, stand up to Murky Mitch…rhymes with…….

  10. Well! October it is the month where demonic activities intensify where the occult run harder as Halloween nears, which affects everything and people including campaigns. You don’t believe me, then look up CBN’s youtube interview with an ex-satanist ‘why christians shouldn’t be celebrating halloween. I’d think a lot of leaders campaigning are bewitched during october.

  11. Both McConnell and his wife are bought and paid for, and do the bidding of the CCP.
    Noone should be surprised that “cocain” Mitch is rooting against us and our selection of republican candidate, Kelly.
    Going against the rules…. Rules for thee but not for me (politician motto)
    And since we are forced into RCV (ranked choice voting), his motto should be RANK THE RED.

  12. McConnell is UniParty, pretending that his shade of grey is more brilliant and worthy of your love and devotion, than the nearby Democrat shade of grey. His strategy put forth here, which is nothing new and has been made painfully obvious over the past few years, is that all else that is in any way dissimilar, must be destroyed.

    Rest assured, Lisa is quite content to stop at nothing to retain “her” position.

  13. McConnell almost certainly BLACKMAILABLE, likely Dan Sullivan too, who is openly supporting traitor, Lisa Murkowski:

    75% in Congress are Blackmailable, while only about a dozen congressmen are both clean and willing to fight the system.

    Joel Skousen wrote in July 20, 2012:

    “The dirty tricks boys in the FBI have incriminating files on about 75% of Congress. Only about a dozen Congressmen are both clean and willing to fight the system.”

  14. As soon as Trump mentioned the “deep state” in the runup to his 2016 election, the knives came out on both sides. And then we watched Mitch and the then Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, slow walk most of the Republican party agenda during the first two years of Trump’s term, in retaliation. I am not surprised to see Washington’s elite now showing its true colors – to them party affiliation comes second.

    Kelly actually might have had a reasonable chance if Trump had not endorsed her.

  15. There is a civil war in the Republican Party. McConnell and more traditional republicans are on one side. Trump and the MAGA cult are on the other.

    Tshibaka is a Trump candidate. He endorsed her and campaigned for her. If she is elected, she will be indebted to Trump and will never cross him. Trump has harshly attacked and denigrated Senator Murkowski and recently attacked both McConnell and his wife. Where is the outrage when Trump attacks his fellow Republicans?

    Given the relentless attacks that Trump has launched against Senator Murkowski, why is anyone surprised when McConnell fights back by revealing damaging information about Tshibaka? Politics is a hardball game, and Tshibaka surely must have known that this information would come out during the campaign. If the ad is false, Tshibaka can sue McConnell for defamation. She won’t sue though, because truth is a defense to such a suit.

  16. Respectfully, MRA is dreaming. The AK GOP has no spine, no real center, and negative organizational capabilities. They can’t even effectively police their own members.

    It’s a lot of why we are where we are.

  17. Great article, Suzanne. We never did care for McConnell. Your article should fire up the pro-Kelly T voters. The sooner the better, so Frankie and I can leave this miserable place called Petersburg, Alaska. We hate hiding from our fellow Alaskans, but that’s what we have to do for now.

    • Nancy, Petersburg? WTH, Frank started his banking Career in Wrangell, Elmer’s old stomping grounds, how the heck did you end up in the Norwegian Center of the universe? Poor Girl!

  18. Suzanne, I get your point, however the issue with the republican party is that they talk a good game but when the time comes to stand strong in their supposed “values” they fold and run for the hills. How many times have we had the republican party offer America a “contract” saying something to the effect that if you vote for us we will do blah, blah, blah, and when they do get voted in they fold as soon as the swamp gets to them or the opposing party starts screaming and accusing them of this or that. So they lack a backbone and/or get seduced by the swamp and that’s why we can’t get any serious change in this country. Just my two cents.

  19. Kelly Tshibaka needs to run one ad for the rest of this election cycle. It’s a simple ad, “Lisa Murkowski is responsible for $5 dollar plus gas prices in Alaska.” They run that non stop Alaskans Everytime they fill up the family truckster they will see Lisa Murkowski face laughing at them..

  20. Being neither Democrat nor Republican nor a party man of any kind, I‘ll vote for Murkowski. I’m not falling for a “dye blonde” simply because she showed up at our door with a sweet, little grin and a nice, hard-luck story. Look, this is America: It’s everyman to his own jalopy, so if it would put a smile on your face, take the hot, little cookie for spin!

    • Hot Cookie! and yet you fall for Daddies Little Princess every time. Tell us what is it like to be that deranged??
      Awe forget it, you are a Lisa loving Troll anyway.

  21. You say it with much more impartiality and restraint than I would. Murkowski is a Democrat, McConnell is a Democrat, and Democrats help their own.

  22. It is “likely” that Murkowski isn’t a woman. It is “Likely” that she isn’t even an Alaskan.
    It is “Likely” that she hasn’t done her job in DC for the last 15 years!

    It is a FACT that if we didn’t have RCV she wouldn’t be a candidate!

  23. At Best Murkowski is a RINO ! But, what sure seems more likely is that she is simply a rubber stamp for the Washington DC Scum that is destroying our Country to ensure their control and to loot and pillage the US right up to it’s collapse. Their Party designations mean Nothing ! They are all one big Political Machine and it doesn’t represent us.
    I dare say that if the Alaskans that still have their collective heads up their asses about the concept of “Bringing Home The Bacon for Alaska” at whatever cost to the Country don’t wake up and see that they are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, we are done.
    P.S. Thanks Suzzane for the real news about Murkowski.
    Remember, Rank Choice Voting was brought to us by Murkowski {see Project Veritas).

  24. If anyone on this thread has supported Murkowski, or given to McConnell’s PAC, you have the right to demand your money back. Unless of course you want to see a spinless, two-faced Senator continue to represent Alaska.

  25. Can anyone please tell me what has Murkowski ‘ever’ done FOR Alaska? I already know what she’s done AGAINST Alaska! Please enlighten me…

  26. Tshibaka is a Carpetbagger. McConnell was with her in DC for a decade or more… Maybe he has a better idea than those of us who have been in Alaska!

  27. We are forgetting someone else who is sitting silent. Senator Dan Sullivan didn’t like those type of adds from AL Gross and he is a democrat. Yet he is sitting silently as Kelly is torn apart by a group he is a member of. He needs to hear how furious Republicans are about MCConnell doing this against an endorsed Republican candidate. I have expressed my concerns and thousands of Alaskans need to do the same!

  28. Suzzane, thanks for the article. I called the Kentucky Republican Party this past Wednesday/ Thursday and asked ‘Jeffrey’ how he’d feel if Alaskans decided to pick his Senator? Mitch is out of control and that there needed to be a change now, because next week I was going to write a letter to the Louisville Courier Journal to ask the Republican voters there to consider their support of McConnell who thinks it is his right to pick my Senator. I understand that Lisa will support him through his unethical onslaught against Kelly Tshibaka, but it doesn’t make him a worthwhile leader of the Senate– to spend millions against the Republican candidate picked by the Alaskan Republican Party. That money should support good Republican candidates in states where they are challenged by Democrats. He is working for the wrong party. Guess I call the paper this week
    1-800-866-2211. Should anyone else be interested. M-F 8-5 EST

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