3 Former Senate Candidates Coalesce Behind Kelly Tshibaka, Not Murkowski

Three former U.S. Senate candidates in recent weeks have coalesced behind Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka and not behind the 21-year incumbent, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Candidates suspending their campaigns and falling behind Tshibaka is exactly what she needs to win because of Alaska’s ranked-choice voting system, which forwards votes from lesser candidates behind stronger ones as balloting progresses. Their early departure from the race and endorsement of Tshibaka will have an impact on the amount of votes that will fall to Tshibaka over Murkowski, as the second and third ballots present themselves.

The latest example of a candidate dropping from the race to back Tshibaka is Pat Nolin. The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, who finished fifth in the August 16 primary, announced his support of Tshibaka Wednesday.

“Alaska doesn’t need a 25-year career politician who helps Joe Biden but obstructed Trump,”Nolin made the statement in a release. “Murkowski isn’t independent or for Alaska, but instead she’s become increasingly liberal and votes along with her liberal D.C. friends. Kelly Tshibaka will fight for Alaska – for our jobs, our resources, and our 2nd Amendment rights.”

On Wednesday, July 13th, 2022 at Capitol Hill, Washington, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK), will be there. (Mariam Zuhaib/AP)

Nolin is the third candidate to back Tshibaka. On Monday, Buzz Kelley, a fellow Republican candidate, suspended his campaign and endorsed Tshibaka. Before that, Edgar Blatchford, a former U.S. Senate Democrat candidate, bowed out and endorsed Tshibaka.

Republic candidate for Alaska’s U.S. Senate seat Buzz Kelley suspended his campaign Sept. 12, 2022. (Campaign photo)

Republic candidate for Alaska’s U.S. Senate seat Buzz Kelley suspended his campaign Sept. 12, 2022. (Campaign photo)

“Our campaign continues to coalesce grassroots support and our growing unified front will retire Lisa Murkowski after 21 years in the Senate,”Tshibaka spoke of endorsements. “We need a senator who will actually fight for Alaska, not bend to the will of the D.C. elites and support Joe Biden’s energy-annihilating, job-killing, gun-grabbing radical agenda at every turn. When I’m in the Senate, I will always stand up for Alaska and against the D.C. insiders.”

Edgar Blatchford

Blatchford’s endorsement specifically could mitigate some of the Democrat support Murkowski needs to defeat Tshibaka. About 8.5 percent of votes were received by Democrats in the August 16 open primary. Because of the ranked-choice voting system — and similarly to how Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) tried to benefit from Democrat votes in her primary election loss — pro-impeachment Murkowski’s best hope of winning reelection against Tshibaka could be the opposition party.

The way Alaska’s ranked-choice general election and open primary system, instituted in 2020, works is as follows:

The August primary saw all the candidates of every party on the same ballot. The four highest vote-getters from each party advance to general election. Voters are then given an opportunity to select their preferred choice and second or third choices. If no candidate in the first round of voters’ first choices gets 50 percent of the vote, the last place candidate’s second choices are distributed across the remaining three candidates to see if someone can get across the majority threshold. If that fails again to produce a majority vote-getter, then a third round is conducted where the third place candidate’s votes are redistributed according to second choices between the remaining two candidates.

According to polling, Tshibaka is tied with Murkowski nearly 50 days until the general election. Tshibaka leads Murkowski on the first ballot by 7.9 points and on the second by 9.3 points. On the third ballot, the poll shows Murkowski leading Tshibaka by 0.2 percent, a statistical tie. Democrat Pat Chesbro got 13.1 percent and 13.9 percent respectively on the first ballot, but was ineligible on the second ballot.

“I think it is really becoming clear that Alaskans across the entire spectrum are uniting behind this campaign,” Tshibaka told campaign supports on a Monday phone call after the poll was released.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.

Check out the complete article here

Exit mobile version