Alaska Republican Announces Run for Senate Seat Held by Murkowski

March 29, 2021 Updated: March 29, 2021

Former Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka announced on March 29 that she will run for the U.S. Senate seat held by fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the 2022 election.

In a statement, Tshibaka said she’s running “for the Alaskans who believe government is of the people, by the people, and for the people,” adding that “the D.C. insiders need to be held accountable to us.”

Murkowski has faced backlash from within the GOP since she voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. The state’s Republican Party voted to censure Murkowski over the vote in March, while accusing her of frequently voting against the interests of the party.

“We know what Washington, D.C. thinks about Alaska: We’re here for their benefit, and we won’t put up much of a fight. After nearly 20 years in D.C., Lisa Murkowski thinks the same way,” Tshibaka said in a video from her campaign. “But you know what? Nothing scares the D.C. political insiders more than the thought of a strong, independent Alaskan leader in their ranks. One they can’t bully. One they can’t control. One they can’t silence.”

It isn’t clear yet if Murkowski, who was first appointed to the Senate in 2002 by her father, then-Gov. Frank Murkowski, will seek reelection. Trump announced during a speech in late February that he would seek primary challengers to face Murkowski and other GOP lawmakers who either voted to impeach or convict him.

“She represents her state badly and her country even worse. I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be—in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad senator,” the former president said in a statement in February.

When speaking to reporters in February, she didn’t directly say whether she would run again in 2022 but said she’s “absolutely leaving the avenues open for my reelection opportunities.”

“If the party is to censure me because they felt that I needed to support the party, they can make that statement, but I will make the statement again that my obligation is to support the Constitution that I have pledged to uphold, and I will do that, even if it means I have to oppose the direction of my state party,” Murkowski said of her impeachment vote, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

National Republican Senate Committee Chair Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), meanwhile, has tried to quell in-party fighting, and says his committee will support incumbent senators for reelection in the 2022 midterms. Alaska’s other senator, Dan Sullivan, also a Republican, told news outlets that he will support Murkowski if she seeks reelection.

“If Sen. Murkowski runs again, I’m going to support her,” Sullivan told ABC News on March 28. “When I ran in 2014 and beat a Democrat incumbent and we got the Senate majority back, Sen. Murkowski was a strong supporter of mine.”

Murkowski’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.