Murkowski to run for reelection

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has announced that she will run for the reelection in 2022. I hope she is unsuccessful.

My objection to Murkowski isn’t her vote to impeach Donald Trump, an ex-president at the time. I didn’t agree with that vote, but thought it was within realm of reasonableness given Trump’s behavior, in the absence of which the Capitol would not have been stormed.

My main objection to Murkowski is her voting record on judicial nominees. Murkowski will vote for virtually any Democratic nominee, no matter how far left. She has tried to justify this practice by arguing that presidents, having been elected by the American public, should be able to have their nominees confirmed.

Yet, Murkowski voted against confirming Brett Kavanaugh. She based that vote on last-minute, unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh that supposedly occurred many decades earlier and had never been aired before.

Susan Collins, the only Republican Senator to the left of Murkowski (but Collins represents a Blue state, not a Red one like Alaska) voted to confirm Kavanaugh. She delivered a compelling argument in support of that vote. Murkowski, her fellow moderate, was unmoved.

Lisa Murkowski is the Arlen Specter of the Klondike, but even worse on judicial nominees (Spector defended Clarence Thomas and backed Samuel Alito). Alaska can do considerably better.

Donald Trump has, of course, endorsed a Republican challenger, Kelly Tshibaka. Does this give Tshibaka the upper hand?

I think so. Indeed, Tshibaka may have had it even before Trump got involved. In 2010, pre-Trump and pre-Kavanaugh vote, Murkowski lost the Alaska primary to hardcore conservative Joe Miller. Murkowski kept the seat by launching a successful write-in campaign with which Miller struggled to cope.

It’s likely that Tshibaka will outdistance Murkowski in the primary by a considerable margin. But this time, Murkowski won’t have to run as a write-in candidate in the general election.

Under Alaska’s new voting system, there are no party primaries. Instead, there’s a jungle-style primary after which the four top vote-getters, regardless of party, face off in the general election.

My guess, for what it’s worth as an outsider, is that, barring a scandal (Tshibaka recently was fined $270 for commercial fishing without a commercial fishing crew license, but that falls well short of a scandal) or meltdown, Tshibaka will outdistance Murkowski in the general election, too.

But might not this system open things up for a Democrat? It didn’t in the three-way race back in 2010. The Democrat ran a distant third that year. If 2022 is a good year for the GOP, as it’s shaping up to be, history will likely repeat itself in that respect.

It seems less likely that history will repeat itself by producing another Murkowski victory. However, the Murkowski family is an Alaska dynasty, and Lisa can fairly be viewed as the family’s brightest star. Thus, it would be rash to count her out, even with Trump as her adversary.

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