Downing: McConnell’s proxy war with Trump in Alaska is stuck on stupid

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald J. Trump have their missiles locked on each other in a proxy battle over the Alaska Senate race.

Trump fights on behalf of the Alaska Republican Party’s endorsed candidate, Kelly Tshibaka. When Tshibaka met with Trump in June of 2021 to ask for his endorsement, he was impressed with her political judgment and work ethic and quickly gave her his full support. 

(RELATED: DOWNING: McConnell Eats His Own In Alaska)

Tshibaka is a born-and-raised Alaskan, part of the new fleet of Republicans who are super-smart, agile and capable, in the same vein as American patriots Kari Lake of Arizona and Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota.

McConnell, the old political warhorse, is not only warring against Trump and the Alaska Republican Party, but misdirected some $7 million from his Senate Leadership Fund to help the very person who the Alaska Republican Party has censured and asked to leave – Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who slipped into the Senate through her blue-bloodlines of the Alaska political oligarchy.

Any hope McConnell has for becoming Senate majority leader depends on whether his endorsed candidates win in key states, such as Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Instead, he’s trying to crush a preferred Republican in Alaska, filling the airwaves with lies about Tshibaka, tearing apart the Republican base and irritating Trump, who blasted McConnell for it on Truth Social:

“Kelly Tshibaka is doing very well in Alaska, probably leading horrendously bad Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican (barely!),” Trump wrote. “The Democrat has no chance, and yet the Old Broken Crow, Mitchell McConnell, is authorizing $9 Million Dollars to be spent in order to beat a great Republican, Kelly, instead of $9 Million Dollars that could be used for Blake Masters, and other Republicans, that with this money would beat their Democrat opponent. Isn’t it ironic?”

Murkowski is the consummate political survivor who has drifted left for years until she found her political true north with the Alaska Democrats. The unspoken alliance is not a secret in Alaska. In fact, the Murkowski-Democrat confederation is so baked into Alaska politics that, north of Latitude 55, it needs no explanation.

This week, the Murkowski-Democrat submarine surfaced: A flyer from the Sixteen Thirty Fund advises voters to pick both Murkowski for the Senate and newly elected Democrat Congresswoman Mary Peltola for the House.

Sixteen Thirty Fund, a tentacle of the dark-money Arabella Advisors, poured $600,000 into the front group called Bristol Bay Action.

In Alaska, that’s a lot of campaign money, and the dark money is the only income that Bristol Bay Action has, making it one-and-the-same as Sixteen Thirty Fund.

Pairing Murkowski and Peltola gives Murkowski the seal of approval from Democrats or their surrogates, and paints Peltola with a tint of moderation for the swing voters who make up the Alaska majority and don’t pay attention until the last two weeks before an election.

Thus, it’s now Democrats (and their surrogates) and McConnell backing Murkowski.

Polling shows this to be a tight race – much tighter than is comfortable for Murkowski. Three polls – AARPFox News, and Cygnal — all show the voters of Alaska split practically down the middle, with the advantage moving in Tshibaka’s direction. FiveThirtyEight.com has modeling that shows Tshibaka winning 53 times out of every 100 simulations.

Only Alaska Survey Research has Murkowski winning by 13 points, showing how the new ranked choice voting system works in Murkowski’s favor, just as it was designed to do by her surrogates.

McConnell’s proxy war with Trump in Alaska is an ego battle that could cost Republicans the Senate. If Murkowski wins on Nov. 8, but the Senate Leadership Fund loses Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, that’s going to be on McConnell, not on Trump.

Suzanne Downing is editor and publisher of Must Read Alaska. This column first appeared in the Daily Caller on Oct. 12, 2022.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Spot on Suzanne. Mitch would rather be minority leader then lose in a majority leader race with several new members backed by Trump. Like democrats it is all about his personal access to power for Mitch. Everything else rates a distant second.

  2. Senator Murkowski is a much better proxy for Alaskans than Kelly Thsibaka. Voters are being barraged with media showing what Lisa has done for Alaska. The NRA Kelly Thsibaka ad does not move the needle and the remaining defensive ads do not add votes.

    • Frank, it might not move your needle because it’s stuck in a long past paradigm which hasn’t been calibrated to reflect reality in decades. The democrats or rather better known as the proxy party for the CCP have played their hand with Biden and Lisa is Joe’s pal. Lisa talks a good show, but votes with Joe.

      That media barrage you speak of proclaiming the great works of Saint Lisa, who pays for that Frank? Not Alaskans. It’s big corporate outside interests, that is who. What do they stand to gain from Lisa’s reelection? For that matter what is in it for China Mitch?

      We even changed how we select our representatives because of LISA. Had enough? I have. Time to send Daddies Little Brat home and replace her with Kelly.

    • We put up with Lisa’s social liberalism for years – because she once upon a time was doing good for Alaska. Lisa’s drift to swampiness has mired her with leftism and disdain for Republicans and even for Alaska, as evidenced by her voting record and her attention-grabbing attacks on Trump and his SCOTUS nominees. McConnell simply does not understand that bs attack ads work the opposite of intention because we reject disrespect. Past time to dump Lisa. Please vote for Kelly.

  3. McConnell, Pelosi, Biden, who the hell supports anyone who supports them? There is nothing appealing about them or their motives, trash! Even their loyal supporters are leaving them.

  4. If Lisa has magically turned into a Democrat, that would be news to us Democrats. She reliably voted for almost all of President Trump’s rotten judicial appointments.

    • Only after polling showed that her vote wouldn’t make any difference. So actually, her yea votes were sham votes.

    • You are mistaken. Lisa voted against most of Trump’s judicial appointments and very publicly attacked his SCOTUS nominees. I was against censure when the Alaska GOP voted – but Lisa’s behavior and that of her surrogates has validated the wisdom of that censure.

    • Uhhhhhhhh you don’t check the news very often Huh? Maybe you should look up a guy called Brett Kavanaugh.

      ‘https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/05/us/politics/lisa-murkowski-brett-kavanaugh-vote.html

      She did not support President Trump’s judicial picks. Not that you really care

  5. Will the Division of Elections allow Bush Alaska to vote in excess of 100% of their registered voters as has happened in previous elections involving Murkowski?

  6. This is not a “proxy war” between McConnell and Trump; it’s a full-fledged war between Trump and Lisa Murkowski. It’s all about Trump wanting to get even with Murkowski, as he did with Liz Cheney and other Senators and Representatives who voted to impeach and remove him from office.

  7. I vote 1! Nothing else! Go Kelly!
    I’ve always voted Lisa! Never really had a good option. Now I do!

    Peltola, I don’t like her commercials , I’m seeing! All hunting wise and telling people that’s what she’s about! But look at her commercial backgrounds! Looks like she is a big game hunter! Not using it all!

  8. Great read, Suzanne. You size-up the political landscape far better than most. And you do it honestly, with facts and reason. I’m hoping DJT gets one more plane ticket to Alaska prior to November 8 and has another maga rally for Kelly Tshibaka. That would probably push Kelly into the winner’s circle.

  9. MAGA voters don’t poll accurately. Trump voters from 2020 don’t trust the polls and don’t tell the pollsters what they really think when polled. Even without the MAGA factor, polling Alaska has always been notoriously difficult. The real story of this election year is that it will be a Red Wave election of such magnitude, they will be talking about it for 50 years. Tshibaka will win bigly with the support of MAGA. Peltola may well win reelection because the Republicans are so partisan, divided, and most of all so stupid, that they will divide their votes between Palin and Begich. The rancor is so strong on each side that they will not put the other candidate as their #2 on the ridiculous RCV ballot and hence, Peltola is likely to win reelection with ~40% of the vote. Stupid is as stupid does, and my fellow Alaskans, we are stupid in many ways when it comes to elections. RCV must be the first thing we get rid of after this next election.

  10. If anyone in Alaska doubts Lisa Murkowski’s ties to the Deep State & Washington, DC political elites, then Cocaine Mitch’s last-ditch, multmillion dollar effort to skewer Kelly Tsibaka in the polls should be proof positive. Mitch McConnell is a corrupt career politician who most definitely does not want to Drain the Swamp as that is where he has lived for decades now!

  11. You are correct that Peltola may win because Republicans “are partisan and divided.” And if Peltola does win, it will be because of that division among Republicans — and not ranked-choice voting. As MRAK’s interview with pollster Ivan Moore explained, RCV would work to mitigate division among Republicans — if they would just agree to “rank the red.”

  12. Suzanne, I disagree with the stuck on stupid part of this story’s title. I think the spat between Lisa and Mitch and Trump isn’t so much about stupid as it is a conflict of necessity that is unavoidable and by needs has to play itself out. Let me explain.

    Trump is a Nationalist, while Lisa and Mitch are Globalist. Many countries in the western world have a similar political civil war going on today. Turns out that the Globalist hold the cards when it comes to wealth and media while the Nationalist hold the hearts and minds of a good share of the citizens. This proxy war between Trumps girl Kelly and Mitch’s girl Lisa is representative of the struggle within the Republican Party nationally. Mitch couldn’t give two hoots about Alaska or Lisa, Mitch is in it for his power. Trump also is after power and settling a score to help heal his bruised ego. It would be folly to ignore these facts.

    We have a choice to make. Do we want to retain Lisa or hire Kelly. Our decision should be based the candidates alone. Kelly is an unknown, although she appears to be qualified. I am very weary of Lisa and believe that 20 plus years is enough of her. There are great young leaders within the Party today, lets call upon them. I’ll take a chance on Kelly in hopes she turns out like Senator Josh Hawley.
    Mitch and Trump be Damned.

  13. Many make the mistake of believing Murkowski has “drifted” left over the years. She always was a leftist. it’s just that now she fells confident enough to come out. And why wouldn’t she? We voted her out in 2010 and what did she do? She said: “Go to hell. I WILL be your senator whether you like it or not”. And we allowed it. How could she ever have respect for the Republican Party after that?

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