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 said in a press 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.”
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.
“Our campaign continues to coalesce grassroots support and our growing unified front will retire Lisa Murkowski after 21 years in the Senate,” Tshibaka said of the 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.”
Blatchford’s endorsement specifically could mitigate some of the Democrat support Murkowski needs to defeat Tshibaka. Democrat candidates in the open August 16 primary received about 8.5 percentage points of the vote. 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.
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.