Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s political action committee has put Republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka in its crosshairs, with a vicious radio ad in Alaska that all but accuses Tshibaka of committing fraud.
Tshibaka has, in the past, said that if elected she will not support McConnell, now in his seventh term in office, for Republican majority leader. The Kentucky lawmaker is returning the favor: His ad, which is carefully worded, refers to an audit done when Tshibaka was a federal employee that related to the accounting of her hours and the hours of others. Tshibaka was never accused of any wrongdoing then, but listeners would not know it from the ad running on many radio stations across the state.
“Kelly was fully exonerated after an investigation, and in fact was shortly thereafter named acting inspector general for the federal trade commission. The ad is full of lies,” said Tshibaka’s campaign.
One radio station owner turned the ad down, saying it was over the line in terms of decency, according to what the owner told Must Read Alaska. The station sacrificed several thousands of dollars by turning down the ad.
The Senate Leadership Fund, controlled by McConnell, supports Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in her reelection campaign, while former President Donald Trump and his political action committee support Tshibaka. Earlier this year, McConnell’s fund postponed running its ads in Alaska in order to focus on more high-stakes races. But just two weeks after an AARP poll shows Murkowski and Tshibaka virtually tied, the ads against Tshibaka are on the airwaves.
Tshibaka and Murkowski’s campaigns have been running attack ads on each other for months, but the McConnell ad caught the attention of many Alaskans, who said it went too far.
Murkowski and McConnell are usually aligned, but not always, especially when it comes to Donald Trump. In 2021, Murkowski publicly said she was upset with McConnell over his decision to block a commission to look into what she considers a the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by hundreds of Donald Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021.
“In an extraordinary meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill before an expected vote on the Jan. 6 commission, Murkowski took direct aim at the Kentucky Republican over his stated rationale for opposing the investigatory panel: that he would rather focus his party’s energy on President Joe Biden’s misdeeds to gain fodder for the 2022 midterm elections rather than risk alienating former President Trump and his supporters,” according to the Huffington Post, which reported that she was accusing him of trying to make political gains.
“To be making a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us on Jan. 6, I think we need to look at that critically. Is that really what this is about, one election cycle after another?” Murkowski said to reporters then. “Or are we going to acknowledge that as a country that is based on these principles of democracy that we hold so dear. And one of those is that we have free and fair elections… I kind of want that to endure beyond just one election cycle.”