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Tipsheet

Here's Why the Alaska GOP Has Had It With Mitch McConnell

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

It’s a symbolic vote that illustrates the discontent among conservatives with the Republican leadership in Washington. The Alaskan GOP censured Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his support of incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who has been a perpetual thorn in the side of Senate Republicans. Murkowski is navigating her re-election bid through the state’s new ranked-choice voting system, which significantly benefits her. The Alaska Republican was mulling not running for a fourth term, given how the Republican base has changed and the Trump ascendancy, the latter of which she reportedly loathes so much she’s considered leaving the party. It would have been a better choice had she left, but she’s now facing Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka and Democrat Pat Chesbro in the general election (via WaPo):

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The Alaska Republican Party voted Monday to censure Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a gesture with no practical consequence but one that is intended to send a strong signal to conservative voters in the state to vote for Donald Trump-backed candidate Kelly Tshibaka over Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The McConnell-aligned super PAC Senate Leadership Fund has spent more than $5 million in ads attacking Tshibaka in a bid to help Murkowski win reelection.

Elected in 2002, Murkowski is one of the more moderate Republican senators and a frequent target of Trump for her votes to preserve the Affordable Care Act, against Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination and to convict the former president for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Tshibaka, who has also been backed by the Alaska GOP, accused McConnell of lying about her to get more Republicans to vote for Murkowski.

“The millions of dollars Mitch McConnell is spending on lies about me could be put to better use in other states where a Republican has a chance to beat a Democrat,” she said Monday. “And the Alaska Republican Party has just told him to butt out of our state.”

Tshibaka said Murkowski would be a “key ally” for President Biden, something Tshibaka argued would make her unfit to serve the Last Frontier’s more than 736,000 residents.

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It circles back to McConnell’s appalling remarks in August, where he was bearish about Republicans’ chances of retaking the Senate. One of the obstacles he said that was preventing a GOP takeover was over the quality of candidates. Flashforward to late October, and the tide has turned in the Republican Party’s favor to the point where we’re on red tsunami watch. Republican candidates have received a deluge of cash, though mostly from pro-Trump PACs and those associated with Peter Thiel. The economic issues are supreme, abortion hysterics have peaked, and inflation is crippling American working families. It’s to the point where voters, even liberal ones, are drifting into the GOP camp over the economy, and polling proves that: Democrats have lost their edge with women voters, with preferences now split. Mitch could have been a contributor to the Democrats’ 2022 demise. Instead, he will be seen as the man who was so upset that Trump-backed candidates won that he sulked in the corner.

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