Former president Donald Trump suffered another blow in Alaska as Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski beat one of his endorsed candidates and Sarah Palin lost her bid for Congress.
Ms Murkowski joined six other Republican Senators and every other Democratic Senator to convict the former president for his role in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. Mr Trump had endorsed her Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka.
Meanwhile, on the House side, Representative Mary Peltola beat the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee to win a full term in Congress. Ms Peltola, the first Native Alaskan to be elected to Congress.
The election marks Alaska’s first general election since it transitioned to a ranked-choice voting system, the top four winning candidates in a primary enter the general election. Voters rank the candidates they want by order of preference. The candidate who receives the least amount of votes is eliminated in the first round and their votes go to voters’ second choice.
This goes on until a candidate receives a majority of the vote. The ranked-choice system was seen as a more favourable environment for Ms Murkowski since she would not have to face a right-wing challenger in a partisan primary.
Ms Murkowski, the daughter of a former senator and governor Frank Murkowski, often clashed with Mr Trump before January 6.
Most notably she opposed against Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. That led Mr Trump to say she was “worse than a RINO,” an acronym for “Republican in name only.”
Since Mr Trump left the White House, she has occasionally voted with the Biden administration, specifically on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, a bill that would strengthen the nation’s gun laws and to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.
“Thank you, Alaska. 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. I look forward to continuing the important work ahead of us,” she tweeted on Wednesday evening.
On the House side, Mr Trump had endorsed Ms Palin, who had endorsed his 2016 presidential run when few other former Republican nominees for president or vice president did, to replace the late congressman Don Young after his death in March.
But Ms Palin regularly feuded with fellow Republican in the race Nick Begich III, the son of the late Democratic Representative Nick Begich whereas she got along with Ms Peltola. The two women knew each other from Ms Peltola’s time in the state legislature and Ms Palin’s tenure as governor, which Ms Palin abruptly resigned in 2009.
In addition, Ms Murkowski, who has long aligned herself with the Alaska Native community, said she would rank Ms Peltola first. The two had an almost identical margin of victory, with Ms Murkowski winning 135,972 and Ms Peltola winning 136,893 votes.
Ms Peltola’s victory narrows the House makeup to 220-213, with only a few more seats left to be called. Meanwhile, Ms Murkowski’s victory gives Republicans 49 seats after they held contested seats in Wisconsin, North Carolina and Ohio, but lost a seat in Pennsylvania. The GOP also failed to flip seats in Nevada,
The final contest for the Senate will take place on 6 December when Senator Raphael Warnock faces Herschel Walker in Georgia. Neither candidate won a majority in the November general election.
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