Murkowski projected to advance to November general election for US Senate in Alaska

Murkowski voted to convict Donald Trump in his impeachment trial last year.

August 17, 2022, 2:10 AM

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is projected to have clinched a spot on Tuesday in the general election, ABC News reports, rebuffing an effort led by former President Donald Trump to unseat her.

Murkowski was among the top four vote-getters in Alaska's Senate primary, which lumped in candidates from all parties. The top four now head to a ranked-choice general election in November.

ABC News reports Murkowski, Republican Kelly Tshibaka and Democrat Patricia Chesbro are projected to advance to the November election. The fourth candidate is yet to be determined.

Murkowski was a top target for Trump, who has made this year's midterm cycle the lynchpin of his crusade to purge the GOP of any critics.

The Alaska senator was one of seven lawmakers in the upper chamber to convict Trump in his impeachment trial after last year's Capitol insurrection -- but she was the only one to do so while also standing for reelection this year.

To challenge Murkowski, Trump endorsed Kelly Tshibaka, Alaska’s former commissioner of administration. Tshibaka is a staunch ally of the former president, asserting that there are unanswered questions about the 2020 race which he baselessly claims was "stolen" from him.

Murkowski, though, is no electoral slouch and she has proven to be able to win under tough circumstances.

She famously lost the GOP Senate primary during the tea party wave in 2010 but won the general via a write-in campaign that taught Alaska voters how to correctly spell her name.

Since then, she has continued to burnish a moderate reputation in the Senate, bucking her party on issues like health care and abortion -- and voting to convict Trump in February 2021.

"Before someone assumes the office of the presidency, they are required to swear to faithfully execute the office of the President and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. President Trump – the nation’s elected leader, the Commander in Chief of our armed forces – swore an oath to defend America and all that we hold sacred. He failed to uphold that oath," she said in a statement explaining her vote.

Alaska's new voting system, which was approved in a ballot initiative in 2020, has many observers uncertain of how the general election will shake out.

Voters will be able to rank the four candidates in order of preference. If a candidate wins an outright majority in first-place rankings, that person wins. Yet if nobody wins a majority, the candidate in last place is eliminated and their supporters' second choices are reallocated to the other candidates. The process continues until a single candidate gets a majority.

The system is expected to help Murkowski, given its emphasis on forming a coalition rather than relying solely on a base and Murkowski's appeal across ideological lines.

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