Sen. Lisa Murkowski has a serious challenger for the 2022 election. Former commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka announced her candidacy on Seward’s Day, March 29. She made her announcement on Fox News early in the morning.
Her website, KellyforAK.com went live with a five-minute video that hits Murkowski hard on the issues and on being a DC insider.
Tshibaka was born and raised in Alaska, left for college. She was the acting inspector general for the Federal Trade Commission, served as counsel to the Inspector General in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and in the Office of Inspector General within the Justice Department. She was the chief data officer for the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service Office under both former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
She returned to Alaska to join the Dunleavy Administration in 2017, but said that when the Alaska Republican Party censured Sen. Murkowski earlier this month, she felt it was time to step up and offer to run. Many Alaskans had suggested that she do so and there was a “draft Kelly Tshibaka” movement under way.
The Alaska Republican Party had issued the harshest censure against Murkowski that any state party has done after seven Senate Republicans voted to convict and remove President Donald Trump — after he was no longer president.
Murkowski will be a formidable challenger. She has won reelection twice and has more than $1 million in her campaign war chest for the 2022 midterm election. She also has the support of her Senate colleagues, including a surprising statement on Sunday by Sen. Dan Sullivan, who told ABC News that he would support her if she ran. Murkowski has an experienced political team, strong ties in every community in Alaska, and is a household name.
Tshibaka is not part of the political establishment and sees herself as a new voice and a new generation of Alaska conservative.
“We know what Washington, D.C. thinks about Alaska: We’re here for their benefit, and we won’t put up much of a fight. After nearly 20 years in D.C., Lisa Murkowski thinks the same way,” Tshibaka said in her campaign launch video. “But you know what? Nothing scares the D.C. political insiders more than the thought of a strong, independent Alaskan leader in their ranks. One they can’t bully. One they can’t control. One they can’t silence. I believe in a better future for Alaska. One we can rise up together and rebuild.”
Tshibaka says she is unapologetically pro-life, which distinguishes her from Murkowski.
Her timing shows bold confidence in her prospects, because most candidates who file wait until the first few days of a fundraising quarter; the next fundraising quarter starts April 1.
Tshibaka resigned from the Dunleavy Administration before announcing.
This story will be updated. Check back.