Senator Lisa Murkowski (R – Alaska) officially announced her bid for re-election today. In an email from the campaign, Murkowski stated:
My heart is, and always has been, in Alaska, and that’s why I am proud to announce my campaign for reelection to the US Senate in 2022. Since my first election, I committed to work tirelessly on your behalf to expand opportunities for our people, support Alaska’s job-creating industries and help give voice to hardworking families and business owners. I pledged to be Alaska, always. I’m still committed to those values and meeting the challenges Alaskans face today by building on my record of working together to secure historic victories that lift Alaskan communities.
We have a lot of work to do. I want to continue to roll up my sleeves and focus on growing our economy, strengthening our Alaska-based military, empowering the next generation of Alaskan entrepreneurs and leaders and protecting the natural beauty of our state. This year, I hope to earn your support and vote for reelection to the United States Senate.
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The campaign also put out this campaign launch video.
Murkowski was appointed to the Senate in December 2002 by her father Frank Murkowski. He had held the seat since being elected in 1981. In November 2002 Frank Murkowski was elected governor and had to vacate the Senate seat. As governor he was able to appoint someone to his vacant seat. Lisa Murkowski was serving in the State House when her father appointed her. Two years later, voters passed a referendum that stripped the governor from being able to appoint replacement senators. Instead, a special election is held.
Murkowski defeated former Governor Tony Knowles in the 2004 general election. In 2010, she was narrowly defeated by Joe Miller in the Republican primary. Murkowski ran a write-in campaign and defeated Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams in the general election. She was the second person in history to win a U.S. Senate seat by write-in. The first being Strom Thurmond in 1954. Murkowski easily won the primary and general elections in 2016.
So far, her main opponent is Republican Kelly Tshibaka. Tshibaka, who served as Governor Mike Dunleavy’s (R – Alaska) Administration commissioner for two years, has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and the Alaska Republican Party. Murkowski, who voted to convict former President Trump after he was impeached for the January 6 Capitol insurrection, would have almost no feasible path in a Republican primary. But last year voters passed a ballot initiative that changed Alaska’s election system. Instead of partisan primaries, all candidates run in a single open primary. The top-4 vote getters advance to the general, which is conducted using ranked-choice voting. Murkowski’s write-in victory in 2010 demonstrated the broad support she has in Alaska. A ranked-choice ballot gives her an easier path to re-election.
Although Murkowski only officially announced her campaign today, she has been raising money for years. According to the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) report, she has over $3 million cash on hand. Tshibaka has just under $300,000. No other major candidates have yet filed to challenge Murkowski.
Murkowski raised more than double Tshibaka and has more than 10x cash on hand.
— The Alaska Landmine (@alaskalandmine) October 18, 2021
Next year’s Senate election in Alaska is sure to attract a lot of money. With the U.S. Senate split at 50-50, both sides are going to spend big money on vulnerable seats. Murkowski’s race will be one of the races to watch.