Trump-backed Tshibaka projected to defeat 20-year incumbent Sen. Murkowski, election forecaster says

Incumbent Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is in danger of losing the seat she has held for two decades to a challenger from her own party backed by former President Trump.

A Republican has roughly a 99% chance to win next month’s Alaska senate election, with Republican challenger Kelly C. Tshibaka considered mostly likely to emerge with the victory at 53%, according to election forecaster FiveThirtyEight.

Tshibaka, a Trump-backed Republican challenger who previously served as a commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, is currently locked in a tight battle with Murkowski after the incumbent senator generated controversy by supporting the impeachment of former President Trump.

Alaska’s 2022 race is unique thanks to a 2020 ballot measure in which voters approved ranked-choice voting in the state’s elections, meaning both Tshibaka and Murkowski will appear on the ballot despite being members of the same party. The two emerged as the top two candidates in the state’s nonpartisan blanket primary in August, and will face off with Democratic candidate Patricia Chesbro in November’s general election.

Murkowski has faced criticism for her vote to impeach Trump and her outreach to Democrats, with critics accusing the incumbent of not doing enough to fight back against President Biden’s agenda.

Originally appointed to the Senate in 2002, Murkowski has long been a swing vote during partisan Senate battles, ranking in as the second most liberal Republican senator, according to a 2017 GovTrack analysis of lawmakers. Her ranking put her to the left of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the Senate’s most conservative Democrat.

Murkowski was censured by the state’s Republican Party after her vote to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial, resulting in a vow to recruit a challenger to fill her seat. She has received the backing of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who threw his weight behind the Senate veteran despite Trump’s campaign against her.

The Murkowski campaign did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.

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