Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Politics

Murkowski, Dunleavy win GOP reelections in Alaska (AUDIO)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has won reelection, defeating Donald Trump-endorsed GOP rival Kelly Tshibaka.

Murkowski beat Tshibaka in the Nov. 8 ranked choice election. The results were announced Wednesday, when elections officials tabulated the ranked choice results after neither candidate won more than 50% of first-choice votes. Murkowski wound up with 54% of the vote after ranked choice voting, picking up a majority of the votes cast for Democrat Pat Chesbro after she was eliminated.

“I am honored that Alaskans — of all regions, backgrounds and party affiliations — have once again granted me their confidence to continue working with them and on their behalf in the U.S. Senate,” Murkowski said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing the important work ahead of us.”

Tshibaka in a statement posted on her website congratulated Murkowski but took fault with ranked choice voting.

“The new election system has been frustrating to many Alaskans, because it was indisputably designed as an incumbent-protection program, and it clearly worked as intended,” she said.

The race also included Republican Buzz Kelley, who suspended his campaign after the August primary and endorsed Tshibaka.

Murkowski was the only Senate Republican who voted to convict Trump at his impeachment trial last year who was on the ballot this year. Trump was not convicted. But her vote was a sore point for the former president, who vowed to campaign against her.

In 2020, before that year’s election and far before Tshibaka jumped into the Senate race, Trump announced plans to campaign against Murkowski after she criticized him: “Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don’t care, I’m endorsing. If you have a pulse, I’m with you!”

He appeared at a rally in Anchorage in July for Tshibaka and Sarah Palin, whose run for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat he endorsed. He more recently participated in a tele-rally for Tshibaka in late October. Tshibaka, who worked in federal inspectors general offices before leading the Alaska Department of Administration for two years, credited Trump with helping to raise her name recognition and give her candidacy a boost.

Meanwhile, Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy has won reelection, becoming the first governor in the state since 1998 to win back-to-back terms.

Dunleavy received over 50% of the vote after final tallies were released Wednesday, and the race did not go to ranked choice voting.

Dunleavy said he was “relieved that it’s over and behind us and now we can focus on the next four years.”

He attributed the victory to effective communication he says he had with Alaska residents, a practice that started with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We told the people of Alaska on the first press conference we had on that virus that we were going to communicate consistently, constantly, and we were going to be transparent in everything we reported to the people, and that became the norm,” Dunleavy said in a phone interview after the win.

“I think that strengthened the relationship between myself and the people of Alaska,” he said.

___

Associated Press writer Mark Thiessen in Anchorage, Alaska, contributed to this report.

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