Murkowski camp teases fundraising ahead of deadline
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Sen. Lisa Murkowski hasn’t officially announced if she will run again next year, but her campaign released fundraising details Wednesday that an adviser says “strongly positions” the Alaska Republican for a reelection bid.
Kevin Sweeney, a consultant to the campaign who ran Murkowski’s comeback 2010 write-in bid, said Murkowski’s focus is on her work in Washington. But he told The Associated Press that the fundraising shows Murkowski also is “doing the work to make sure that she’s positioned for reelection, when that time comes.”
Murkowski’s campaign released top-line numbers but Sweeney was not immediately able to provide a copy of the four-page summary of the report that also gets filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The campaign said Murkowski had raised $1.15 million in the second quarter, which ended June 30, and had about $2.3 million on hand.
Wednesday’s campaign statement comes ahead of a filing deadline and days after Republican Party leaders in Alaska endorsed Kelly Tshibaka, a former state Department of Administration commissioner. Murkowski, who has a reputation as a moderate, has at times been at odds with party leaders on issues such as abortion and in her criticism of former President Donald Trump.
Tshibaka, in a statement after the vote by party leaders, said she was “grateful and thrilled” to have the support.
“I have pledged that I will be true to our shared, conservative Alaska ideals and be a senator upon whom they can depend to make every decision based on what is best for our great state,” she said.
Murkowski said she has “and will continue to fight for Alaskan values in the U.S. Senate. Alaskan voters will decide who represents them in DC and I work every day to earn their support.”
Tshibaka’s campaign in a statement said she has raised more than $750,000 since announcing her candidacy on March 29 and it emphasized support from small donors. Tshibaka in her first quarter report disclosed raising about $215,000 as of March 31.
Tim Murtaugh, who is working on Tshibaka’s campaign, noted the second quarter filing deadline is Thursday.
Tshibaka has highlighted on her campaign site interviews on conservative national networks and recently announced an endorsement from Trump.
Murkowski was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump during a Senate impeachment trial earlier this year. Trump was acquitted of a charge of incitement of insurrection related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Murkowski was appointed to the U.S. Senate in late 2002 by her father, then-Gov. Frank Murkowski, a fact that still rankles some residents. She was elected to her first six-year term in 2004.
Murkowski lost her 2010 Republican primary to tea party favorite Joe Miller but won the general election with a write-in campaign. In a crowded 2016 general election field that included Miller running as a Libertarian, Murkowski won with 44% of the vote.
Alaska voters last year approved sweeping changes to the state’s election process that would end party primaries and implement ranked-choice voting in general elections. Under the new system, the top four vote getters in the primary, regardless of party, advance to the general election.
The system is set to take effect for next year’s races. It’s currently being challenged in court.