With the entrance of State Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson into the Alaska U.S. Senate race, there are now effectively two prominent Democrats for voters to consider in the August primary election. Gray-Jackson’s record shows that she is reliably progressive, while incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski is a dependable vote for President Joe Biden and Senator Chuck Schumer’s Democrats in the Senate.
On issue after issue, Gray-Jackson and Murkowski are in alignment, and together they are out of step with most Alaskans.
There should be no question that Gray-Jackson would be a rubber stamp for every radical nominee that Biden sends to the Senate. The extremists who already have been confirmed have enacted numerous policies that directly target Alaska, our economy, and our workers.
Murkowski, meanwhile, has voted to confirm more than 90 percent of Biden’s nominees, including casting the tie-breaking vote to advance the nomination of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who is spearheading the Biden plan to gut Alaska’s energy industries. Haaland’s policies line up perfectly with Gray-Jackson, who last year co-sponsored legislation that would increase taxes on Alaska employers and oil producers.
For her part, Murkowski also voted for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who blocked all access to the Tongass National Forest for timber production and tourism.
The two are also disastrous on public safety, siding with radicals who call for defunding police and weakening law enforcement officers in our communities. Gray-Jackson has sponsored a number of bills in the state legislature that can fairly be described as anti-police, and which would make it more difficult for officers to do their jobs to protect our communities.
Murkowski was the only “Republican” to vote for the confirmation of Vanita Gupta as a Biden nominee at the Department of Justice, even though Gupta previously testified in the Senate in support of the “Defund the Police” movement. Gupta now oversees the allocation of federal funds (or lack thereof) to local police departments.
Perhaps the most impactful votes a senator will ever cast are those on nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court. Again, Gray-Jackson would be expected to toe the line for Biden and Schumer, while Murkowski has already shown that she opposes originalist, constitutionalist judges.
Murkowski opposed the nominations of Justice Amy Coney Barrett and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, after being bullied by Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein into doing so. Yet, Murkowski voted to confirm federal Judge Sharon Gleason, a judicial activist and radical environmentalist who went on to kill both the life-saving King Cove Road and the multi-billion-dollar Willow oil and gas project.
On immigration, Gray-Jackson could be counted on to back liberals’ plans to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants and excuse Biden’s failure to enforce our southern border. Murkowski actually voted for legislation that allows millions of illegal immigrants to remain in this country, even if they commit multiple crimes against U.S. citizens.
And on abortion, there is no daylight whatsoever between Gray-Jackson and Murkowski. The former has been endorsed in the past by abortion provider Planned Parenthood, which promotes abortion up to the moment of birth, while Murkowski is famously and undeniably pro-abortion – even boasting on social media, “I have long supported Planned Parenthood.”
It’s clear that Murkowski believes that she and Gray-Jackson are playing on the same field, as she has begun to accumulate endorsements from national and Alaska Democrats.
This makes sense because incredibly, since Biden has been President, Murkowski has voted with self-described socialist Senator Bernie Sanders more than half of the time and with Biden’s position nearly three-quarters of the time.
The Alaska Republican Party has censured Murkowski and gone as far as instructing her not to refer to herself as a Republican in Alaska anymore. She no longer has a home in the party in Alaska and clearly is looking to Democrats to rescue her.
Indeed, Murkowski’s own campaign manager issued a statement warmly embracing Gray-Jackson’s entry in the race, when he claimed “there are now two candidates, Sen. Murkowski and Elvi Gray-Jackson, in this race with decades of public service to Alaska.”
This shows that Murkowski believes that she and Gray-Jackson are competing for the same Democratic voters.
Alaskans want a leader who represents our values and will fight for them in Washington, D.C. We want a Senator who understands this is about serving the public, not being a career politician. I have two decades of public service experience in making government work for the people. And I will always fight for Alaska and our shared principles when I am the next U.S. senator.
Kelly Tshibaka is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alaska.