By KELLY TSHIBAKA
As Alaskans, we are keenly aware of the condescension shown to us by the Lower 48, mostly from those who have never even visited our amazing state. It’s a common theme used by politicians who want to sound Alaskan, even though their actions sometimes do not match up with their words.
It’s especially jarring to see our senior senator, Lisa Murkowski, employ the same rhetorical trick, talking tough about defending us from outsiders while simultaneously depending heavily on their campaign contributions. She has also failed miserably in protecting us from the radical leftist agenda of the Biden administration.
In a video announcing her intent to seek re-election, Murkowski warned of outside political interests invading Alaska via their checkbooks.
“In this election, Lower 48 outsiders are going to try to grab Alaska’s Senate seat for their partisan agendas,” Murkowski said in the video. “They don’t understand our state, and frankly, they couldn’t care less about your future.”
This is quite a statement from a 21-year incumbent senator who is almost entirely reliant on campaign contributions from non-Alaskans.
To this point, using the most recent federal campaign filings available, 85 percent of the campaign funds raised by Murkowski in her 2022 re-election bid have come from outside Alaska. When looking at smaller contributions, which usually indicates the measure of local grassroots support, Murkowski’s numbers are even more dismal. A mere 4 percent of her fundraising is from small individual contributions of less than $200 each.
If you include the super PAC that’s supporting Murkowski, the picture is even worse. The group “Alaskans for LISA” has raised nearly $1.3 million, and all of it came from the Lower 48. The donors to that PAC are not “Alaskans” at all.
Looking strictly at the money, it’s clear that Murkowski has lost the support of Alaskans and is filling her coffers from the very Lower 48 special interests she cynically warned us all about.
Further, she has gladly accepted massive funding from the biggest Washington, D.C. insider of them all, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. This is the same Mitch McConnell who demanded Sen. Ted Stevens resign and threatened to remove Stevens from the Senate (Sen. Stevens was later acquitted on all charges). McConnell wrongly interfered with Alaska’s senate race before, and now he’s doing it again.
McConnell has pledged $7.4 million from his political action committee, funds that are solely dedicated to boosting Murkowski’s campaign, despite the Alaska Republican Party censuring her. This is an enormous amount of money, given the relatively low cost of advertising in Alaska, and represents significantly more than Murkowski has raised for herself so far in this election.
In effect, Murkowski has outsourced her campaign funding to the Lower 48 and the D.C. elites, exactly as she warned us that “others” would try to do.
Back in her announcement video, Murkowski also tried to prove her Alaska bona fides by saying, “I will always stand up to any politician or special interest that threatens our way of life.”
This will come as a surprise to anyone who is aware of her tie-breaking vote in committee to advance the nomination of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who has led the anti-Alaska, energy-annihilating agenda of President Joe Biden. Haaland has killed ANWR, NPR-A, the road to Ambler Mine, and the Cook Inlet oil and gas lease sales.
This kind of boast also runs counter to her vote for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who completely cut off access to the Tongass National Forest for timber production and tourism, and her vote to confirm radical leftist Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Voting for the confirmation of radical Biden nominees who are obviously hostile to Alaska’s interests does not meet any definition of “standing up” to them.
This is where the differences between Murkowski and my campaign come into sharp contrast.
We have raised twice as much money from inside Alaska as Murkowski has, and most of my campaign has been funded by Alaskans. I also have publicly stated numerous times that, as senator, I will not support Mitch McConnell if he runs for Republican Senate Leader again. So, it’s little wonder why he has put so much capital into Murkowski’s survival.
When I am the next senator from Alaska, I will always oppose radical leftist nominees whose agendas run contrary to our interests. Instead of fretting about the damage they will cause, and then voting for them anyway like Murkowski has, I will work to block their attack on our resource industries and protect our State.
When I’m senator, Alaska will have someone who defends our resource industries and the workers who depend on those jobs to feed their families, and blocks an administration that wants to turn us into a giant national park. We will have someone who won’t be bought and paid for by D.C. insiders, Big Tech, leftist organizations, and radical environmentalists.
When I was young, it was Alaskans who gave me the opportunities to succeed in life, and when I’m senator, I will always remember that they were the ones who hired me to represent them. I will fight for the Alaskans who fought for me. Our future is bright, and it’s time for a change.
Kelly Tshibaka is a born-and-raised Alaskan, and a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alaska who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump and the Alaska Republican Party.