Murkowski, Defeating Trump-Backed Opponent, Wins Re-Election
Ms. Murkowski was the only Senate Republican who voted to convict the ex-president at his impeachment trial last year who was on the ballot this year. Her vote was a sore point for the former president, who vowed to campaign against her.
JUNEAU, Alaska — Senator Murkowski has won reelection, defeating her GOP rival, Kelly Tshibaka, who was endorsed by President Trump.
Ms. Murkowski beat Ms. Tshibaka in the November 8 ranked choice election. The results were announced Wednesday, when elections officials tabulated the ranked choice results after neither candidate won more than 50 percent of first-choice votes.
The race also included Democrat Pat Chesbro and Republican Buzz Kelley, who suspended his campaign after the August primary and endorsed Ms. Tshibaka.
Ms. Murkowski was the only Senate Republican who voted to convict Mr. Trump at his impeachment trial last year who was on the ballot this year. Mr. 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 Ms. Tshibaka jumped into the Senate race, Mr. Trump announced plans to campaign against Ms. 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 Ms. Tshibaka and Governor Palin, whose run for Alaska’s lone House seat he endorsed. He more recently participated in a telerally for Ms. Tshibaka in late October.
Ms. Tshibaka, who worked in federal inspectors general offices before leading the Alaska Department of Administration for two years, credited Mr. Trump with helping to raise her name recognition and give her candidacy a boost.
Ms. Murkowski, who was censured by state Republican party leaders last year for offenses that included her impeachment vote, paid little attention to Mr. Trump during a campaign in which she emphasized a willingness to work across party lines and focused on her record and seniority.
Ms. Murkowski, a moderate who has been in the Senate since 2002, is the most senior member of Alaska’s congressional delegation following the death in March of Congressman Don Young, a Republican who held Alaska’s House seat for 49 years.
Ms. Murkowski is no stranger to tough reelection fights. She won a general election write-in campaign in 2010 after losing her party primary that year to a tea party Republican. Coming into this race, she had never won a general election with more than 50 percent of the vote.
This year’s elections were held under a new system approved by voters in 2020 that replaced party primaries with open primaries and instituted ranked voting in general elections. Under the open primary system, the top four vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.
Ms. Tshibaka criticized a super PAC aligned with the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, for running ads against her when she said those resources could have been used to help Republicans in other states.
She said she “ranked the red,” or the Republican candidates, on her ballot — but not in the Senate race. She said she did not consider Ms. Murkowski a “red” candidate.
“I didn’t vote her either,” Ms. Murkowski said on Election Day.