Kelly Tshibaka projected to defeat 20-year incumbent Sen. Murkowski

Incumbent Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, left, and Alaska Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka (Greg Nash/Pool/AFP, Tshibaka Senate campaign)

Incumbent Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is in risk of losing her seat of two decades to a candidate from her own party supported by former President Trump.

According to election forecaster FiveThirtyEight, a Republican has an approximately 99% chance of winning next month’s Alaska senate election, with Republican opponent Kelly C. Tshibaka having a 53% chance of winning.

Tshibaka, a Trump-backed Republican candidate who formerly served as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, is currently involved in a tight race with Murkowski after the incumbent senator sparked controversy by supporting former President Trump’s impeachment.

Because of a 2020 ballot item in which voters authorized ranked-choice voting in the state’s elections, both Tshibaka and Murkowski will be on the ballot despite being members of the same party. The two finished first and second in the state’s nonpartisan blanket primary in August, and will face Democratic candidate Patricia Chesbro in the general election in November.

Murkowski has been chastised for her vote to impeach Trump and her outreach to Democrats, with some criticizing her of not doing enough to oppose President Biden’s agenda.

Murkowski, who was first elected to the Senate in 2002, has historically been a swing vote in partisan Senate disputes, ranking as the second most liberal Republican senator in a 2017 GovTrack survey of members. Her ranking placed her to the left of the Senate’s most conservative Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Murkowski was censured by the state Republican Party after voting to convict Trump during his second impeachment hearing, prompting her to promise to find a replacement. Despite Trump’s campaign against her, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has thrown his support behind the Senate veteran.

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