In Alaska, Senator Murkowski and Rep. Peltola Defeat Their Trump-backed Challengers

Two other candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump have lost in their campaigns to secure seats in Washington, D.C., representing Alaska. This means that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) and Rep. Mary Peltola (D) will serve as members of the Senate and House, respectively, in the coming year. The outcome of these elections could be a blow to the public's perception of the previous president, just days after he announced that he was planning a third campaign for the White House. 

Politico reported: “Two Alaska moderates, GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola, won reelection Wednesday over two challengers backed by former President Donald Trump, thanks to the state’s ranked-choice-voting system, which allowed them to prevail without winning a majority of the vote. Murkowski repelled Trump-backed Republican Kelly Tshibaka, less than two years after Murkowski voted for conviction in Trump’s impeachment trial.”

In the November 8 election, the first election under the new voting system, Murkowski defeated Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka, 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent. Peltola defeated Sarah Palin, 54.9 percent to 45.1 percent.

Murkowski was among six GOP senators who voted to impeach Trump after his departure from office because he was accused of having sparked violence in the January 6 riot at the Capitol Building. Peltola’s victory is also notable as she is the first Democrat from Alaska to be elected for a full House term since 1970. She is also the first Alaska Native woman elected to Congress.

Palin as well as other Republicans have criticized Alaska's new ranked-choice voting system. The former governor said it was a “cockamamie system” that is “very, very potentially fraught with fraud.”

Murkowski, approximately two weeks prior to the election, was also a source of controversy when she announced that she would support Peltola in her campaign. “Mary is a woman whose heart is as grounded in Alaska as anybody you're going to find,” the senator stated.

She also said that she would rank Peltola first when casting her vote at the polls. Peltola, for her part, stated that she would place Murkowski first.

Naturally, the biggest elephant in the room is former President Trump, whose choices in this year's midterm elections were closely observed by the social media savvy class on both sides. In crucial races, the majority of the candidates Trump endorsed lost despite having won their primary elections, which could mean that his influence beyond his own base has diminished significantly. These Alaska races will be considered further evidence of this theory, particularly in the event that Herschel Walker (R), who is seeking to replace Senator Raphael Warnock (D) for Georgia’s Senate seat, does not deliver.

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