Sen. Lisa Murkowski has taken a narrow lead over her Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka after Alaska election officials counted more ballots on Friday.
The latest numbers show Murkowski with a 1,658 vote lead over Tshibaka. At 112,519 votes, Murkowski has 43.3 percent of the total vote, while Tshibaka sits at 42.7 percent with her 110,861 votes.
Republican candidate Buzz Kelley has less than three percent of the total vote, while the only Democrat candidate, Pat Chesbro, has 10.4 percent of the vote. With neither Tshibaka nor Murkowski expected to reach the 50 percent threshold, Kelley and Chesbro’s 34,358 votes will be redistributed to voters’ second-choice candidates under Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system.
As Breitbart News explained:
All candidates from all parties appear on the ballot together in the August primary. The top four vote-getters regardless of party then advance to the general election, and their voters are given the opportunity to pick their top choice, as well as their second and 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.
Alaska voters instituted the new voting system by ballot measure in 2020. However, a recent video exposed a Murkowski aide who claimed the ballot measure to institute ranked choice voting was promoted by people who “wanted Lisa to get reelected.”
Alaska’s Division of Elections will tabulate voters’ second and third-ranked choices on November 23, with officials striving to certify the election’s results on November 29.
Murkowski is expected to benefit greatly from Chesbro’s 26,974 votes, as she has aligned herself with Alaska Democrats, is pro-choice, and voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Tshibaka over Murkowski.