Trump-backed candidate accuses Mitch McConnell of supporting rival Murkowski for his own selfish gains

Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka isn’t holding back following her senate loss to GOP incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, showering blame on establishment Republicans whom she said prefer an easily controlled Senate minority rather than a majority with varied opinions.

“It is regrettable that Sen. Mitch McConnell spent millions of dollars in this race on deceptive ads to secure what he wanted – a Senate minority that he can control, as opposed to a majority that he could not,” Tshibaka said. “Donors’ money would have been better spent in other states to elect more Republicans that would have secured a majority in the Senate.”

The former Alaska Department of Administration commissioner said the ranked-choice voting process in which voters select their preferred candidates in order and the vote share is distributed to the top two is “frustrating” for voters and candidates.

“It’s clear from the ranked choice tabulations that Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been re-elected, and I congratulate her on that,” Tshibaka said. “The new election system has been frustrating to many Alaskans, because it was indisputably designed as an incumbent-protection program, and it clearly worked as intended.”

Alaskan voters had to wait weeks for a winner to be declared under the new system.

“Neither Murkowski nor Tshibaka, the top two-vote getters in the first round of the Nov. 8 general election, had a majority after first choices were tabulated, triggering runoff rounds Wednesday in which ballots listing eliminated candidates were reallocated to the voter’s next choices,” NBC News reported. “Murkowski, Tshibaka, Democrat Patricia Chesbro and Republican Buzz Kelley all advanced from a nonpartisan August primary”

Kelley dropped out and endorsed Tshibaka, but remained on the ballot. Kelley’s second-choice votes were reassigned to the remaining three candidates. Chesbro was next to be eliminated, and the second-choice votes from her ballots put Murkowski in the lead.

“I am honored that Alaskans — of all regions, backgrounds and party affiliations — have once again granted me their confidence to continue working with them and on their behalf in the U.S. Senate,” Murkowski tweeted Wednesday night. “I look forward to continuing the important work ahead of us.”

 

Tshibaka said the contest many saw as a proxy battle between McConnell and former President Donald Trump, turned out to be “another victory for the Washington, D.C., insiders who rarely have our best interests at heart.”

A super PAC aligned with McConnell and other outside groups spent nearly $7 million on Tshibaka attack ads and just over $6 million on ads highlighting Murkowski’s accomplishments, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Murkowski, one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump for allegedly inciting the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol following his second impeachment trial, was on the receiving end of the former president’s vitriol throughout the midterms, often referring to the senator as the “disaster from Alaska.”

“She’s a total creature of the Washington swamp but much worse than that and a tool of a corrupt establishment, the likes of which we’ve never seen,” Trump said of Murkowski during an Alaska rally in July. “The fake news media loves her.”

 

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