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Sen. Lisa Murkowski defeats opponent Kelly Tshibaka to win re-election in Alaska

Sen. Lisa Murkowski defeats opponent Kelly Tshibaka to win re-election in Alaska

Sen. Lisa Murkowski defeats opponent Kelly Tshibaka to win re-election in Alaska

Sen. Lisa Murkowski defeats opponent Kelly Tshibaka to win re-election in Alaska

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  • Murkowski won the ranked-choice runoff after being one of just seven Republicans to vote to convict Trump at his second impeachment trial.
  • On July 28, 2021, Sen. Lisa Murkowski shows up for a press conference in the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
  • In a statement, Tshibaka expressed her sorrow and congrats to Murkowski.
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Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been re-elected in Alaska, handing outgoing President Donald Trump another defeat in what has generally been a terrible midterm year for his hand-picked candidates in close Senate races.

Murkowski, one of just seven Republicans to support Trump’s conviction during his second impeachment hearing, held her own against a challenge from Trump supporter and former Alaska Department of Administration commissioner Kelly Tshibaka.

Murkowski tweeted on Wednesday night, “I am honoured that Alaskans of all areas, backgrounds, and political affiliations have once again given me their trust to continue working with them and on their behalf in the U.S. Senate. I’m eager to continue the crucial job that lies ahead.

In the first Senate race in the state to be determined by ranked-choice voting, Murkowski won re-election.

The structure allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference rather than limiting them to a single option. After first choices were counted, neither Murkowski nor Tshibaka, the top two vote-getters in the first round of the general election on November 8, had a majority. This prompted runoff rounds on Wednesday, during which ballots listing eliminated candidates were redistributed to the voter’s next choices.

From a nonpartisan primary in August, Murkowski, Tshibaka, Democrat Patricia Chesbro, and Republican Buzz Kelley all won the nomination. Later, Kelley withdrew and supported Tshibaka, but he was still on the ballot. The second-choice votes from those who preferred the third-placed Kelley were distributed among the remaining three candidates at the start of the runoff on Wednesday. The second-choice votes from Chesbro’s ballots helped Murkowski over the finish line after she was eliminated.

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In a statement released Wednesday night, Tshibaka lamented her defeat and praised Murkowski while also criticising Alaska’s ranked choice voting process.

I congratulate Sen. Lisa Murkowski on her reelection since it is evident from the ranked choice tabulations “said Tshibaka. Many Alaskans have expressed frustration with the new electoral system because it was undeniably intended to protect incumbents and it plainly accomplished that goal.

The contest has been mostly focused on the two leading Republicans and their connections to Trump from the beginning.

Tshibaka, for instance, caused controversy when she declared that if she won the election, she would not back Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, for re-election as the Senate’s top Republican.

Tshibaka criticised McConnell in her remarks on Wednesday for his spending “To get what he desired—a Senate minority that he can control as opposed to a majority he could not—he spent millions of dollars in this election on false advertising.

Murkowski came to prominence as a rare Republican official ready to criticise Trump and ultimately convict him for what she considered to be his instigation of the tragic uprising at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, making her a target for the right. She received criticism from the Alaska Republican Party, and Trump started referring to her as the “disaster from Alaska” before endorsing Tshibaka’s bid for the nomination.

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Murkowski is renowned for her ability to cooperate with Democrats and for maintaining a moderate stance in the Senate. In April, she was one of just three Republicans to support the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Throughout Trump’s presidency, she has also broken with her party on significant votes, siding with Democrats and a small number of other Republicans to defeat the GOP’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Murkowski committed to “work with anyone, from either party, to accomplish Alaska’s priorities” in a recent campaign ad that summarised her case.

The system’s supporters contend that moderate candidates who don’t pander to either party’s fringe and make every effort to appeal to the widest possible audience benefit from the setup. Ranked-choice voting gained national prominence for its usage in the New York City mayoral election of last year.

Incumbent Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola defeated Republican Sarah Palin, the former governor and vice presidential candidate, to win a full two-year term in the contest for Alaska’s at-large House seat.

In March, longstanding GOP Rep. Don Young passed away at the age of 88. Peltola had previously made history in August when she won the special election to succeed Young and became the first Native Alaskan elected to Congress. Before she won, Young and the GOP had held the seat for almost 50 years.

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