Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski today formally announced she is a candidate for 2022. She said that this will be one of her toughest campaigns ever, alluding to the support that upstart candidate Kelly Tshibaka has from former President Donald Trump.
Murkowski was one of seven Republicans who voted “guilty” to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial, but she is the only one of the seven that faces reelection.
Murkowski has the support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the NRSC, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
If she wins, it will be her fourth full term; she started in the Senate in 2002 to finish out the term of her father, Frank Murkowski, who had just been elected governor and two appointed her to the Senate.
The Alaska Republican Party censured her in March for her vote to convict Trump. The party endorsed Tshibaka. But this election season, Murkowski will not have to face a closed primary, where she would be expected to do poorly. her former campaign manager, Scott Kendall, led Ballot Measure 2, to remake Alaska’s primary into an open primary, giving her a stronger chance of proceeding to the November ballot, where the new system is a ranked choice voting.
But her battle is uphill in Alaska, with her approval rating being sickly among Republicans and Democrats. In a Democrat-sponsored poll in May, Murkowski was getting less than half of the votes of Tshibaka in a theoretical ranked choice scenario that included Al Gross as a Democrat and John Wayne Howe as an Alaska Independence Party candidate.
Murkowski’s launch video premiered on YouTube today in which she said that Lower 48 interests will try to grab the seat from Alaskans for their partisan purposes: