Alaska Sen Lisa Murkowski, one of only seven Republican senators who voted to convict former president Donald Trump for his actions relating to the 6 January riot, officially announced a bid for reelection on Friday.
Ms Murkowski released a video touting herself as an “independent voice” and “cutting through the partisan gridlock in Washington”. The ad also highlights her seat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
The Alaska Republican frequently broke rank with Republicans during the Trump administration, being one of only three Republican senators who voted against the repeal of Obamacare and opposing the confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
At the same time, she voted for the Trump tax cut legislation in 2017, which included a provision to allow for drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has long been a priority of hers. She opposed Mr Trump’s first impeachment.
Earlier this year, Ms Murkowski voted to convict Mr Trump in his second impeachment trial.
“The speech he gave on that day was intended to stoke passions in a crowd that the President had been rallying for months. They were prepared to march on the Capitol and he gave them explicit instructions to do so,” she said at the time.
Since President Joe Biden’s election, Ms Murkowski voted to confirm Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary, which made her the first Native American cabinet secretary, and Ms Murkowski’s ad touts how she is “always defending Alaska native languages and traditional values.”
In 2010, Ms Murkowski lost her Republican Senate primary to Tea Party challenger Joe Miller but won the general election in a write-in campaign, making her the first senator to do so since Strom Thurmond and largely thanks to indigenous communities in Alaska.
Similarly, Ms Murkowski was one of 19 Republicans, along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill in August that passed in the House last week.
Mr Trump endorsed her Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka and Ms Murkowski seemed to cite outside influence from “the lower 48”, Alaskan lingo for the 48 contiguous states since Alaska is not.
“In this election, Lower 48 outsiders are going to try to grab Alaska’s Senate seat for their partisan agendas,” she said. “They don’t understand our state, and frankly they couldn’t care less about your future.”
But last year, Alaska voted to allow a top-four nonpartisan primary with ranked-choice voting in the general election. So far, Ms Murkowski significantly outraised Ms Tshibaka. Last fundraising quarter, Ms Murkowski raised $1.1 million and has $3.24 million in cash on hand, compared to Ms Tshibaka who raised about $465,000 last quarter.
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