Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) advanced comfortably in Tuesday’s all-party primary, facing three contenders in November, including one endorsed by former President Donald Trump, in her new ranked voting system. condition.
Not surprisingly, Murkowski advanced; she is an incumbent senator running for her fourth term.
What is more interesting is Alaska’s own electoral process: Under his new system, primaries no longer pit Republicans against Republicans or Democrats against Democrats. Instead, all candidates compete against each other, regardless of party affiliation, with the four candidates with the most votes competing in the general election in November. That election will also use ranked-choice voting.
Nineteen candidates were on Tuesday’s ballot, including Democratic frontrunner Pat Chesbro and Murkowski’s biggest Republican rival, Kelly Tshibaka. Trump, who has vowed to unseat Murkowski since she was one of seven Republicans who voted to convict him of inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, has been perplexed by Tshibaka, a far-right, socially conservative candidate who once wrote in support of an “ex-gay” organization and warned of the evils of “addictive” witchcraft.
Leaders of the Alaska Republican Party also endorsed Tshibaka, who previously headed the Department of State Administration. His endorsement came a few months after they voted 53-17 to censure Murkowski for voting to impeach Trump.
But Murkowski has already shown that he is not afraid to stand up to extremists in his party. In 2010, when he unexpectedly lost his primary to a Tea Party candidate, he launched a write-in campaign with now famous ads carefully spelling his name. In an impressive featand without any support from his party, he won.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) comfortably advanced in her state’s new all-party primary. (Photo: via Associated Press)
Beyond that, the longtime Republican senator certainly benefits from the state’s new electoral system, which voters approved in 2020. In the primary, all Murkowski had to do was be one of the top four voters to advance. . In the general election, Murkowski, who is easily the most moderate Republican in the Senate today, is likely to win votes from Republicans, independents and Democrats by ranking his top candidates.
The Alaska general election will essentially function as an instant runoff. Voters’ second, third, and fourth choices are only taken into account if the first and subsequent choices finish last and do not proceed to the next round. The election ends when a candidate gets more than 50%.
Murkowski also benefits from having stronger name recognition and more money than Tshibaka. The Republican senator has $5.3 million in cash on hand as of July 27, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures, compared to roughly Tshibaka $808,000 cash on hand. That’s more than five times more campaign cash.
Doesn’t mean Murkowski has this in the bag in November. But as he headed to the elementary school, he knew that this time he could breathe a little easier.
“There’s not a lot of anticipation as to whether or not Lisa Murkowski will move forward,” he said. told the Washington Post on Sunday, between a stop at a renewable energy fair and a dip in a pool at a local hot springs resort. “So, it has a different feel.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.