Sen. Lisa Murkowski announces bid for reelection to US Senate

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 12:03 AM AKST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2021 at 5:42 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Sen. Lisa Murkowski has officially announced that she is seeking reelection to one of Alaska’s two seats in the U.S. Senate.

Murkowski announced the reelection bid early Thursday morning, saying in a press release that her heart “is, and always has been, in Alaska.”

Currently serving alongside fellow Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, Murkowski has held her seat in the Senate since 2002, waging a successful write-in campaign to hold onto that seat in 2010.

“We know that in this day and age, politics are very polarized, more polarized than any time that I have been serving in any level of government,” Murkowski told reporters at the Anchorage Division of Elections office on Friday. “And I think a voice of ... moderation, one that is looking to serve all Alaskans, not putting party interests over politics or performance, but just doing the best job I possibly can for the state.”

Murkowski faces challenger Kelly Tshibaka, a Republican candidate and the former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration. Tshibaka has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump as well as the Alaska Republican Party.

Tshibaka’s campaign responded to Murkowski’s announcement Friday morning, pointing to the fact that Murkowski first took office as a U.S. Senator in 2002 when her father, former U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski, appointed her to serve the remainder of his term after announcing his run for Alaska governor. Murkowski was later elected to return to the position in 2004.

“Alaskans know that she has turned her back on us, and that she cares more about Washington, D.C. insiders than she does about the people of her own state,” Tshibaka said in the release. “It’s why her fundraising is fueled by elite powerbrokers and why she has attracted virtually no support from actual Alaskans.”

The two will face off in the 2022 election, which will feature for the first time in Alaska a ranked-choice voting system, pitting the top four vote-getters in the primaries against each other in the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

“The biggest challenges for us (Alaska) right now is our economy. We’re struggling right now, it’s been a hard year and a half with COVID. It’s decimated our tourism industry, we’ve seen that impact around our state,” Mukowski said. “But we’re also dealing with an administration that has taken a very aggressive approach towards, towards throttling some of Alaska’s opportunities, our potential to do more for ourselves.”

She along with the other two members of Alaska’s congressional delegation recently crossed the aisle as Republicans to support the more than $1 trillion infrastructure package passed last week.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include comments from the Kelly Tshibaka campaign and from Lisa Murkowski during a Friday press conference.

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