Trump-backed Alaska hopes to officially file for Senate run

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Kelly Shibaka, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump, on Monday officially applied to run as the US Senate nominee against Republicans.

Tshibaka will face US Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who drew Tshibaka’s goal during a press conference after Tshibaka filed with the State Division of Elections in Anchorage.

“Lisa Murkowski has forgotten us because she cares more about being popular with her friends in Washington, D.C.,” said Tshibaka, also a Republican.

Tshibaka claimed that Murkowski was helping President Joe Biden, a Democrat, on the agenda to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson – whom Tshibaka described as a “left-wing judge” – to the US Supreme Court. At the same time, she criticized Murkowski for not supporting two of Trump’s candidates, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett, in court.

Murkowski protested and later voted “present” on Kavanaugh’s nomination. She voted to confirm Barrett in 2020, after previously saying she did not support taking on a candidate for the Supreme Court vacancy so close to the presidential election.

Tshibaka chastised Murkowski for endorsing other Biden candidates, including Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

“These are not votes that an Alaska senator should cast,” Tshibaka said. “Murkowski has made such poor decisions time and again, and we, the people of Alaska, continue to pay the price for his popularity in Washington, DC”

Tshibaka is a former commissioner in the Alaska Department of Administration. She formerly served in the offices of the Inspector General for the US Postal Service, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice before joining the administration of the Government of Alaska. Mike Dunleavy, according to his resume.

A message sent to Murkowski’s campaign seeking comment was not immediately returned on Monday. Her campaign sent out a news release showing the support of more than a dozen Alaska mayors and other officials who are backing Murkowski.

When Murkowski applied for office in November, he was asked about running against a Trump-backed opponent.

Murkowski told reporters at the time, “There will be a lot of people from outside who will be firing at me, who will suggest that I am not right for the people of Alaska. I will put it directly to the people of this state.”

Murkowski, who has held the Senate seat since late 2002, had nearly six times the cash on Tshibaka at the end of 2021. The latest quarterly fundraising reports — reflecting the first three months of this year — are due around mid-month. Tshibaka’s totals will include money collected from a fundraiser at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

Trump has said that he will campaign for Tshibaka after vowing revenge against Murkowski, who voted to convict him in his second impeachment trial and called Trump on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol for rebellion. Later asked to resign.

“He said he would come to a rally for us, and I think it would be great to vote,” Tshibaka said.

Trump has also backed the former Alaska government. Sarah Palin, who is one of 48 candidates running to fill the term of U.S. Representative Don Young, remaining after he died last month. Palin was the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate.

Asked whether Trump and Palin’s two bigwigs could dominate his campaign, Tshibaka said it was different from the Senate campaign.

“I am completely focused on Lisa Murkowski and the damage she has done and the fact that she serves as Biden’s chief competent officer, helping him every step of the way,” she said.

In addition to Murkowski and Tshibaka, 10 other candidates have so far applied to run for the Senate. Under a new election system approved by Alaska voters in 2020, the top four vote-getters in the August primary, regardless of party, will advance to November’s general election, where rank choice voting will be used.

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