Pro-impeachment and 21-year incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is expected to defeat Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race after the state tabulated voters’ second and third rankings on Wednesday.
Murkowski finished the ranked-choice election with 53.7 percent, 135,972 votes, compared to Tshibaka’s 117,299 votes, bringing her to 46.3 percent.
🚨NEWS | Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) wins re-election after the ranked choice voting instant runoff tabulation. She defeats Trump-endorsed Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka.
Final round results:
Murkowski (R-inc) 135,972
Tshibaka (R) 117,299 pic.twitter.com/a21iZi3wnc
— Jacob Rubashkin (@JacobRubashkin) November 24, 2022
Murkowski survived the highly contested Senate race likely due to the Alaskan open, ranked-choice voting system she reportedly supported instituting in 2020. The voting system ultimately protects incumbents by allowing the Republican Party to cannibalize its vote while permitting Democrats to vote for Republicans.
Murkowski’s vote share shot up after Democrat candidate Pat Chesbro was eliminated. Murkowski received a large share of second-choice votes from Chesbro’s Democrat supporters, Alaska’s KTOO reported.
The pro-impeachment senator was also aided with $9 million from the Senate Leadership Fund, the Sen. Mitch McConnell-backed super PAC. The money was spent attacking Tshibaka over the airwaves. The fund backed Murkowski even as it pulled $5.6 million in mid-October from Republican Gen. Don Bolduc’s campaign against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in New Hampshire.
Murkowski outspent Tshibaka by about $4.5 million, according to Open Secrets. Polling showed the race as a tossup, with Tshibaka leading by a slim margin.
In October, the Alaska Republican Party censured Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for attacking Tshibaka. The censure of the top Senate Republican by the Alaska GOP was an extraordinary move that indicated just how out of step McConnell is with American workers.
Murkowski was also censured by the Alaska Republican Party in March 2021 and asked to leave after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump. Murkowski refused and instead voted nine times with Democrats in the last two years. Murkowski was the only pro-impeachment Republican on the ballot in 2022.
Upon reelection, Murkowski has pledged to continue to aid the Democrats’ agenda.
“I’m not a fan of this administration,” she claimed in September. “I think a lot of their policies have really hurt us. But you know what? They’re in office. And they’re going to be in office for the next two years.”