Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), no stranger to tough re-election races, may be facing a new one in 2022. A candidate has emerged to run against her as a Republican — and former President Donald Trump's inner circle are already rallying around the newcomer.
Alaska Commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka announced her bid on Monday, declaring herself part of "a new generation of Alaska conservatives," and saying, "We know what Washington, D.C. thinks about Alaska: We're here for their benefit, and we won't put up much of a fight. After nearly 20 years in D.C., Lisa Murkowski thinks the same way."
According to POLITICO, "Tshibaka has tapped National Public Affairs, a consulting firm made up of Trump's top 2020 campaign advisers, to help oversee her effort. Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark and battleground states director Nick Trainer, who relaunched the firm after the presidential election, will serve as Tshibaka's senior advisers."
Former Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh, who is also working for the Tshibaka campaign, promoted her on Twitter.
Go to https://t.co/mWaMEDDNWg and @KellyForAlaska - of "a new generation of Alaska conservatives" - challenging 20-… https://t.co/rGn3z3j8S0— Tim Murtaugh (@Tim Murtaugh)1617029907.0
And the Republican Party of Alaska also promoted Tshibaka from their official campaign account.
"Tshibaka will also campaign as a strong opponent to illegal immigration, a staunch defender of the Second Amendmen… https://t.co/cCWIwY4hLw— Alaska GOP (@Alaska GOP)1617030784.0
Murkowski, one of the more independent members of the GOP caucus, has been targeted by the right flank before. In 2010, she lost re-nomination to Tea Party activist Joe Miller, who had the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but Murkowski went on to win a write-in campaign.
This time, the 2022 Senate race could be even less predictable; Alaska voters have approved a first-in-the-nation system where all primary candidates run on the same ballot, and the top four advance to a general election with ranked choice voting.