Kelly Tshibaka, a Republican from Alaska backed by former President Trump, blames Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his failure to oust centrist GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski this election cycle.
Tshibaka, a former Alaska state official, conceded the contest on Wednesday after the final rounds of vote tabulation showed Murkowski winning. The race took weeks to call given Alaska’s ranked voting system, a process in which voters select their preferred candidates in order and the vote share is distributed to the top two after a process of ‘elimination.
While Tsibaka blamed preferential voting for her downfall, calling the system frustrating and “a program to protect incumbents,” she also said McConnell had some responsibility.
“It is unfortunate that Senator Mitch McConnell has spent millions of dollars in this race on misleading advertisements to get what he wanted – a minority in the Senate he can control, as opposed to a majority he cannot. “, she said. “Donor money would have been better spent in other states to elect more Republicans who would have won a majority in the Senate.”
ALASKA SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI WINS RE-ELECTION TO UNITED STATES SENATE OVER CHALLENGER KELLY TSHIBAKA
Tshibaka said his loss to Murkowski was just “another win for 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 battle between McConnell and Trump. The former president sought to punish Murkowski for voting to convict him after his impeachment for allegedly instigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.
“She’s a total creature of the Washington swamp but far worse than that and a tool of a corrupt establishment, the likes of which we’ve never seen,” Trump said of Murkowski at a July rally in Alaska. . “Fake media love it.”
McConnell, who is expected to become the oldest Senate leader in history in January, lined up behind Murkowski. The move was largely consistent with the Kentucky Republican’s notorious practice of supporting incumbents.
A super PAC aligned with McConnell and other political groups has spent big to support Murkowski. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, outside groups have spent nearly $7 million attacking Tshibaka and just over $6 million on positive ads highlighting Murkowski’s accomplishments.
Murkowski said his victory hinged on building a diverse coalition of Republicans, independents and even some Democrats.
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“I am honored that Alaskans — of all regions, backgrounds, and partisan affiliations — have once again placed their trust in me to continue to work with them and on their behalf in the U.S. Senate,” she said. “I look forward to continuing the important work ahead of us.”