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.