Former Murkowski consultant defects to Tshibaka campaign for Senate


Kelly Tshibaka, who announced her candidacy for Senate on Monday, has put together a rockstar campaign team for her challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

That team includes former President Donald Trump’s top campaign professionals from 2020: Campaign manager Bill Stepien, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark and battleground states director Nick Trainer, as well as Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh, who has a company called Line Drive Public Affairs.

Stepien, Clark, and Trainer make up the firm National Public Affairs, and they are serving as senior advisers to Tshibaka.

In addition, Tshibaka has an in-state campaign team led by former Murkowski campaign consultant Mary Ann Pruitt, the principal at PS Strategies. Pruitt was formerly associated with Murkowski and, in fact, placed all the media for the 2016 Murkowski campaign; she was also in charge of the field and ground game for a portion of the campaign.

While none of that star power guarantees a Trump endorsement this early in the campaign season, the national team led by Stepien is the equivalent of the Trump Train that appears to be coming for Murkowski.

Trump has vowed to help retire Murkowski in 2022: “I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be — in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad senator,” he told reporters this winter.

Read: Kelly Tshibaka challenges sitting Sen. Lisa Murkowski


  1. Sounds like this is going to get expensive… Does Trump have more money to spend in Alaska than Soros and Planned non-Parenthood? The ad blasts will make Dan Sullivan’s opponent (funny, can’t remember the idiot’s name…) look cheap.

  2. It will be an exciting Senatorial race to watch for certain! I look forward to learning more about the contender beyonfld the typical Conservative “checkbox” points listed.

    I want to know what this candidate has had to overcome. That defines another level of grit beyond achievement, in my opinion.

    I want to know what she has stood up for – that may have also knocked her down – so I can understand what she values.

    I want to hear these types of things because those experiences, in my opinion, will demonstrate her readiness and the depth of her thick skin.

    It is awesome to see a new player entering the ring.

  3. Will be interesting to see how Kelly overcomes the Dems new jungle ballot system Alaskans blindly voted for \.

  4. If Mary Ann Pruitt is as successful with candidate Tshibaka as she was in helping Governor Dunleavy with his public relations as she was when Pruitt was on the public payroll, candidate Tshibaka is in for a rough ride. M.A. Pruitt was an expensive and ineffective public relations flack who flamed out big time.
    Oh well, this little experiment in democratic decision making up here in the North is nothing, if not interesting.

  5. I would think that Kelly would want to distance herself from anyone and everyone associated with Murkowski and maybe it’s just me but I’m just not seeing that cozying up to one of Lisa’s team is a good thing for those who want to drain our swamp…

  6. I wouldn’t have anyone that even came close to Murkowski on my campaign. Would not trust them for one minute. There has to be someone who is not tainted by that association who would work. She should hire Kellyann Conway :).

  7. I agree. I would flatly refuse anyone from Murkowski as damaged goods and exposed film. Just listened to her interview on 1020am…I didn’t hear her call out the rising leftism, authoritarianism that is a real threat etc. She talked about herself which was fine. When putting Murkowski down, she was not very specific. I don’t like how quickly this woman popped up and how we unthinkingly must now support her. Are there anyother candidates? What was wrong with Joe Miller for example?

  8. I supported Joe Miller very earnestly. Yet, my acquaintances tell me he is a wing-nut. A kook. I don’t get it. I considered him a breath of fresh air, realistic, pragmatic and calling the political landscape what it was with truthful words. I’m still confused why conservatives fail to embrace him.

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