April 11, 2021

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Several people who worked on former President Donald Trump’s unsuccessful re-election bid are joining the effort to possibly unseat one of Trump’s most vocal Republican critics, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

On Monday, Alaska Commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka announced that she is stepping down in order to run for Murkowski’s seat in 2022. In a video, Tshibaka criticized Murkowski for voting to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, saying it was “so out of touch” to try and “remove Donald Trump from office, even after he was already gone.”

Murkowski, a moderate Republican whose father was also a senator and governor of Alaska, filed a statement of candidacy in early March, but has not said that she will definitely run again next year. Murkowski got under Trump’s skin with her impeachment vote, and earlier this month he told Politico he would visit Alaska next year to campaign against the “disloyal” and “very bad” Murkowski.

Tshibaka has hired multiple people from Trump’s orbit to help with her campaign, including former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, former deputy campaign manager Justin Clark, former battleground states director Nick Trainer, and former communications director Tim Murtaugh. Alaskan political consultant Mary Ann Pruitt, a senior member of Murkowski’s 2016 re-election effort, has also joined Tshibaka’s campaign.

Under Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system, the top four finishers in next year’s all-party primary will move on to the general election. Murkowski lost the 2010 Republican primary but won the election as a write-in candidate. Catherine Garcia


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