The 2022 Alaska Senate race has caught the attention of Politico, a national news organization based in Washington, D.C. and one that is widely read on the internet by political junkies.
In a description of Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka, Sen. Lisa Murkowski was quoted as saying that all she could really say about Tshibaka is that she has “a pulse.”
“Lisa Murkowski has an ice-cold review of the Donald Trump-backed conservative who’s vowing to topple her in Alaska’s Senate race next year.
“It doesn’t surprise me. The president has said, you know, that he’s gonna endorse anybody that has a pulse,” the Alaska Republican said of GOP challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, as quoted by Politico. “This, apparently, is somebody with a pulse.”
Writer Burgess Everett of Politico wrote on Twitter that it was an “ice dagger.”
In the story, Tshibaka demurred commenting on the insult. The mother of five whose family rose from poverty to the middle class and who finished a Harvard Law degree was said to be en route to Utqiagvik by her campaign team.
“That blunt assessment of Tshibaka reflects Murkowski’s combination of confidence and wariness ahead of what’s shaping up as an unpleasant midterm campaign for her. She’s the only GOP incumbent senator to earn Trump’s ire this year after voting to convict him in his second impeachment trial, a move that got her censured by her state party. He has vowed to campaign against her in person,” Everett wrote.
Murkowski has not said whether or not she is running and, if so, whether she will run as a Republican. The Alaska Republican Party State Central Committee censured her in March and vowed to find someone to run against her. When Tshibaka raised her hand to run, she quickly hired many members of the Trump 2020 campaign organization to help her with the national side of what is shaping up to be the biggest race of 2022.
Then, just two weeks ago, Trump himself threw his endorsement Tshibaka’s way.
The Politico writer admitted that the ranked choice voting experiment going on in Alaska’s elections, the result of Ballot Measure 2, makes it hard to figure out who has the advantage, but Everett clearly gives the advantage to Murkowski, citing numerous senators who are supporting her reelection.
“If she decides to run again, she has a formidable record on her side. The 64-year-old moderate won a write-in campaign in 2010 after losing her GOP primary to tea party darling Joe Miller, and she romped to a third term by 15 points in 2016 despite never endorsing Trump. She also has support from the GOP establishment this time around, and they’re in rare alignment together against the former president,” Everett wrote.