Kelly Tshibaka, an Alaskan Republican backed by former President Trump, blames Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for her failure to oust centrist GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski this election cycle.
Tshibaka, a former Alaska State official, conceded the contest Wednesday after the latest rounds of voting tables showed Murkowski winning. The race took weeks to get underway given Alaska’s ranked voting system, a process in which voters select their preferred candidates in order and vote share is distributed to the top two after a elimination process.
While Tsibaka blamed her loss on ranked voting, calling the system frustrating and a “government protection program,” she also said McConnell had some responsibility.
“It is unfortunate that Sen. Mitch McConnell spent millions of dollars on misleading ads in this race to secure what he wanted — a Senate minority he can control versus a majority he couldn’t control “, she said. “Donors’ money would have been better spent in other states electing more Republicans who would have won a majority in the Senate.”
ALASKA SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI WINS RE-ELECTION TO US SENATE OVER CHALLENGER KELLY TSHIBAKA
Tshibaka said her loss to Murkowski was just “another victory for the Washington, DC insiders who rarely have our best interests at heart.”
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The Alaska contest was seen by many as a proxy fight between McConnell and Trump. The former president sought to punish Murkowski for voting for his conviction following his impeachment for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.
“She’s a total creature of the Washington swamp, but way worse than that and a tool of a corrupt establishment like we’ve never seen before,” Trump said of Murkowski during a rally in Alaska in July. “The fake news media love them.”
McConnell, who is set to become the longest-serving Senate leader in history in January, sided with Murkowski. The move was broadly in line with the Kentucky Republican’s well-known practice of supporting incumbents.
A super PAC allied with McConnell and other political groups spent heavily to bolster Murkowski. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, outside groups spent nearly $7 million on attacks on Tshibaka and just over $6 million on positive ads highlighting Murkowski’s accomplishments.
Murkowski said her victory relied on assembling a diverse coalition of Republicans, independents and even some Democrats.
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“I am honored that Alaskans — of all regions, backgrounds and party affiliations — have once again trusted me to continue working with them and on their behalf in the US Senate,” she said. “I look forward to continuing the important work that lies ahead.”