Downing: Murkowski riding a freshman Democrat’s coattails as she searches for liberal votes and supports keeping Pelosi in power



Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, censured by her own Alaska Republican Party more than 18 months ago, is giving the state party’s grassroots leaders the back of her hand. 

Or maybe it’s her middle finger. Murkowski is not only battling back against her own state party, which supported her in 2016 but not this year, Murkowski is now going rogue on her Republican donors, who cannot be terribly happy with her move to try to keep House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in power.

Instead of supporting Nick Begich III, who is the Alaska Republican Party’s only endorsed candidate for Congress, Murkowski said the quiet part out loud: She will vote for Democrat Congresswoman Mary Peltola, who was ushered into office via the same open primary and ranked choice voting system that helped Murkowski get to the Nov. 8 general election. 

You read that right: Rather than publicly support Republican-endorsed Begich or even the unendorsed Republican Sarah Palin, Murkowski has gone to the other side, and through Peltola, Alaska’s senior senator is supporting Pelosi, President Joe Biden, and the failed policies of the Democrats. If McConnell is supporting Murkowski at this point, then McConnell himself is sending Pelosi another foot soldier.

For Murkowski and the Republicans in Alaska, it’s all over but the shouting.

Murkowski’s valentine to the Democrats came during the weekend when the Alaska Republican Party polled its district officers to decide on whether to censure Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kan.) and his Senate Leadership Fund for the air-bombing campaign ads attacking the state party’s endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate, Kelly Tshibaka. 

That vote, completed over the weekend, was 49-8 in favor of a strong resolution telling McConnell to cease and desist his attacks on the Alaska Republicans’ candidate. News of Murkowski’s endorsement of the opposing team for office cannot have helped her with any sympathetic Republican committee officers.

Now, the Alaska Republican Party is not only fighting Sen. Murkowski, who has been in office since 2002, it’s fighting Sen. McConnell, Senate Minority Leader.

This is the same Republican Party of Alaska that, in 2021, voted by 77% to censure Murkowski, and to endorse Murkowski’s opponent Kelly Tshibaka. This weekend, the vote to censure Sen. McConnell passed by a whopping 86%. Obviously, the attack ads by McConnell are having the opposite of Mcconnell’s desired effect: He’s irritating the base.

Even without Republicans, Murkowski may have hacked a win out of a tight race. Alaskans ushered in a new “open primary and ranked choice voting system” designed by Murkowski’s top supporters. Since most Alaskans are not aligned with any party, the plan from Camp Murkowski always was to help her sweep up more than enough Democrat and unaligned votes to win in November, and her endorsement of Peltola will help her in that effort.  

Murkowski and Peltola represent a state that gave Trump a solid win in 2016 and 2020. This is the black magic of ranked choice voting combined with Murkowski now riding Peltola’s populist coattails.

Over the weekend, the state’s largest Alaska Native political group, Alaska Federation of Natives, endorsed both Murkowski and Peltola. Normally, the Democrat-leaning group would endorse the most leftist candidates running, but in this case, AFN has skipped over the Democrat – Patricia Chesbro – and stuck with middle-left Murkowski, pairing her with progressive Peltola as the champions for AFN’s Native-centric interests.

Murkowski seems determined to put Alaska in the minority in Congress, which is moving almost certainly to Republican control in the November election. With just one at-large seat representing a Republican-leaning state, it seems almost impossible to think that Alaska could elect Peltola, but that’s the ranked choice way. Murkowski has done the math. She knows how this works.

For the 49th state, much is at stake. If the Senate stays under the control of Sen. Chuck Schumer, and if the House flips to GOP leadership, but Peltola wins for the Democrats, Alaska will be in the minority in both the Senate and the House.

Murkowski doesn’t appear to care. She’ll be 66 in May, and 71 during what would be her next election cycle. Chances are this election is her last, no matter which way it goes.

This scenario is all a first for Alaska, but this may also be a first for Republicans at the national level: The highest-ranking elected Republican in the country – McConnell – is doing battle with a state party 3,500 miles away to prevent a state party from being able to self-determine its own Republican candidate. 

McConnell may hope for a minority he can control, rather than a majority he cannot, and doesn’t seem to care one iota that his candidate – Murkowski – is now openly batting for the Democrat team.

Suzanne Downing is publisher of Must Read Alaska.


  1. Lisa is acting like her & dominion voting systems & rank choice voting already knows who won the upcoming election. Are they psychic’s or corrupt cowards of rigged elections. Oath breakers of rigged elections just imagine one day it all gets exposed and there you are standing in your evil ways in front of ALL & GOD. Stop mocking GOD so help you GOD you swore oath takers who become shameless oath breakers. We want oath integrity oath takers. Its your duty. Imagine if the firemen ran from the fire. Clown oath breakers stop.

    • So if she loses the election will you still say its rigged? I imagine not. You’re in serious denial. Never let a complete lack of evidence change your reality.

      • Never known for erudition, Oath Integrity needs to supply his answer. But when any elected official takes an oath of office, most of them swear “so help me God” – to break that oath is to mock God. Those who decline to use that phrase are still solemnly taking an oath to serve our Nation, their State, or other office, Constitutions and laws, and the people who elected them. Princess Lisa hasn’t served Alaska or our people in more than a few years.

  2. MRAK story titles are some of the best. Murkowski, a 20-year veteran in the US Senate, now needing a Bush Democrat with 6 weeks experience to pull her through the election? Laughable. Murkowski is losing bad. No wonder her parents are hiding in Petersburg. She’s a total embarrassment to her parents and to Alaskans.

    • She’s not losing. She is going to win. RCV the dems and a just enough uninformed stupid repubs will push her over the line. We get Murkowski for another 6 years….

  3. I doubt this election will be her last: Mitch Mcconell, Patrick Leahy, Diane Feinstein, Chuck Grassley, and DON YOUNG have and are staying in the swamp as they rot in their seats. Washington is a place full of rotten lowlifes who have no other purpose but to go to fancy dinner parties, run the country into another 31 trillion in debt, and screw over the average American until they die in their seat. Murkowski is the snakiest of Snake Oil Salesman in Congress and has not other purpose in life but to serve her cronies.

  4. Lisa has sold us out. Our oil, natural gas, mining, logging, now crabbing has all been shut down by the Biden Admin. She does nothing but take funny money from her Uncle Joe. She then proceeds to travel all over the state on the taxpayer dime and pats herself on the back for all the hard work she’s doing. Lisa before Alaskans, that’d for sure.

  5. Bitter is thy name. Neither Begich or Palin are qualified for that office, the smart voters choose Congresswoman Peltola. She was coronated this past weekend at AFN with the blessings of Don Young’s family.
    Congresswoman Peltola will serve all Alaskans honourably, even MRA nation.

  6. Murkowski is just validating everything that people have said about her liberal leanings. Alaska Natives need to wake up to how the Democrats are destroying everyone including them.

  7. Now, if we end up with Lisa and Mary, service-disabled veterans in Alaska will have NO HOPE for any Congressional assistance with the no good, very bad, terribly screwed up Anchorage VA Clinic.

    Lisa’s so-called constituent affairs staff told me, “we can’t tell the VA what to do” in response to an actual problem for me, an 80% service-disabled woman veteran, who has spent years seeking and not receiving medical care at the Anchorage VA Clinic. Referrals to the CHOICE program are inadequate as the better physicians in the local area refuse VA patients because the VA: 1) takes much too long to process payments and 2) declines to pay the actual (full) amount that is due on the invoices.

    AND Mary’s so-called constituent affairs staff has been completely unresponsive after each of my weekly calls to her DC office (there is no Anchorage office). Note to Mary: increased food stamps for veterans IS NOT the answer.

    Don’t believe either one of these two women when they say they have done a lot for disabled veterans and/or pledge to do even more. Alaskans and veterans deserve much better than either of these two.

    • You’ve not said “why” you’re not receiving medical care at Anchorage VA Clinic! The VA has its own rules to follow and it’s likely you’ve been denied care for one (or more) of their rules.
      Your whine here about denied care doesn’t carry much weight without the reasoning behind it IMO. That said, thank you for your service but give us some more to go on here (also IMO).

  8. Happy Porcaro? Remember all the time you spent telling us this abomination would INCREASE getting a Republican into office?

    You gonna put the same effort in to getting rid of RVC as you did getting it installed?

  9. Never much thought about Peltola/Sattler. Murkowski is easy to detest, but gotta say, in spite of the little pixie smile, Peltola is really becoming obnoxious.
    You can tell she feels owed this position because… fish and family.

  10. So, after previously deciding that I would not support a broken voting system with a vote, today I wavered and went to the polling place and was given a ballot…

    Standing in the booth I reviewed my choices and after a few seconds thought, decided that I could not bring myself to rank candidates whom I detest, marked the ballot choice in the affirmative where it asks about a constitutional convention and walked across the aisle and sent an otherwise unmarked ballot into the machine.

  11. I see I am not alone in seeing this coming. The trouble with DC is that it is so corrupt that even people who would like to stay clean gradually get sucked in. And if you don’t have a crackerjack staff to really help your constituents, you either do not survive or go deep state. If Alaskans can’t stop it there in DC, at least don’t let the local deep state regain a stranglehold in Juneau. RVC has to go because it is too easy to manipulate and utterly destroys the one man – one vote concept. In this election, the only ones who stand to benefit are Murkowski, Les Gara, and or Bill Walker. And for those who do not want any changes in the Alaska Constitution, it is the legislature who would not pass through Governor Dunleavy’s proposed initiatives to let the people vote on taxes, or to have the PFD stabilized once and for all in the Constitution. Nothing will change if the legislature continues to have that kind of power. People’s representatives? So the work begins at home. We know what the democrats represent, so Rank the Red and use their RCV against them. Be sure your ballots have all the required spaces filled out. Don’t give anyone an excuse to throw your ballot out. And monitor the drop-off places to be sure piles of ballots are not being dropped off. Be Vigilant! For those of you who want to stand on their principles and only vote for one candidate and not rank anyone, this election is not the time. Rank the Red and destroy them with their own system.

  12. Turnout is the way.
    If you don’t like the direction this country and state are going in get out and rank the red.
    It’s beyond time to rid us of parasites like Murkowski and her ilk.

  13. The Republican Party needs to get a grasp on reality if it hopes to survive. It is not the party of Ted Steve’s and Don Young. It’s abandoned mainstream politics to become the voice of the extremes and fanatics. Who in their right mind would vote for Kelly over Lisa. Kelly is a nothing more than an opportunistic carpetbagger with no platform aside from a failing fealty to Trump, who was good for Alaska but bad fort mankind. Lisa is Alaska First, an honorable woman, a great senator for our state.

    • Q: The Republican Party needs to get a grasp on reality if it hopes to survive. It is not the party of Ted Steve’s and Don Young. It’s abandoned mainstream politics to become the voice of the extremes and fanatics. /Q


  14. The bag of bones is doing anything she can to stay in power. That includes making a deal with the devil. Enter Jen LOL. But it’s true she started showing her hand during the Supreme Court nominations, and even before that when she went door to door out in the bush teaching natives how to spell her last name correctly. I did my best while I was out there to try to convince them that she was a fraud and a smiling snake. I don’t know if I got through or not.

  15. Well Lisa is now claiming that she sponsored Bree’s law in a new ad on TV. I searched on Brave and it says that Don Young sponsored that law!
    So Lisa isn’t the only one doing for Alaska eh!

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