Lisa Murkowski Makes Reelection Run Official, Fires Back at 'Outsiders' Like Trump

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced her reelection bid Friday, setting her up in a race against a Donald Trump-endorsed opponent, Kelly Tshibaka, the Associated Press reported.

Murkowski is one of seven Republican senators who broke with the party in voting to convict the former president after the January 6 Capitol riot, and has become a target of his criticism since.

Trump was acquitted on the charge of incitement of insurrection that he faced in his second impeachment trial despite votes from the handful of Republicans, but he has taken some retaliatory action against Murkowski and others. On top of endorsing her main opponent, Tshibaka, who announced her bid in late March, Trump has asserted that "Lisa Murkowski is bad for Alaska."

Murkowski is now the sole member of the seven to contend with reelection, AP reported. In a campaign video released Friday, Murkowski describes herself as "independent and tough" and fires back at Trump and other "outsiders" vying for her seat.

"In this election, lower 48 outsiders are going to try to grab Alaska's Senate seat for their partisan agendas," Murkowski said in the video. "They don't understand our state and frankly, they couldn't care less about your future.

"I will always stand up to any politician or special interest that threatens our way of life," she added.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Murkowski Seeks Re-Election
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial and has repeatedly bumped heads with the former president, announced Friday that she will run for reelection. Above, Murkowski walks to the chamber at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on August 5, 2021. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Murkowski's reelection bid will be closely watched nationally as Trump tries to bring down a senator whose name has a rich political history in the state. Her father, Frank Murkowski, was a former governor and a longtime U.S. senator.

Lisa Murkowski has been in the Senate since 2002, when her father selected her to finish his unexpired term after he was elected governor. A Murkowski has represented Alaska in the Senate since 1981.

She has bucked the Republican Party before. Murkowski lost her 2010 primary but went on to win the general election with a write-in campaign against a conservative Republican candidate.

After the January 6 riot at the Capitol by Trump supporters, Murkowski called on Trump to resign the presidency, telling the Anchorage Daily News, "I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage."

Murkowski was censured by the Alaska Republican Party in March for that vote, but the National Republican Senatorial Committee endorsed her, placing its bet on a resilient incumbent. In July, the Alaska Republican State Central Committee endorsed Tshibaka, former commissioner of Alaska's Department of Administration.

Murkowski was the lone Republican to vote against advancing Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in a procedural vote, expressing unease with the sexual assault allegations made against Kavanaugh, which he denied. She voted "present" in the final 50-48 vote that elevated Kavanaugh to the high court.

Tshibaka has tried to take advantage of Trump's popularity in Alaska, getting support from his allies and voicing Trump positions, including promotion of his false claim of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Alaska voters last year passed an initiative to end party primaries and institute ranked-choice voting for general elections. Under the system, the top four vote-getters in a primary race, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the general election.

Tshibaka Challenging Murkowski
Kelly Tshibaka, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, will challenge for the seat of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. Above, Tshibaka addresses reporters in Anchorage, Alaska, on September 26, 2019. Mark Thiessen/AP Photo