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NRSC Chairman Rick Scott Weighs in on Murkowski-Tshibaka Primary Race

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Perhaps one of the most closely watched Senate races for 2022 will be the Alaska Republican primary between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and former Alaska Commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka. While former President Donald Trump has made it a major focus to see Murkowski beaten by a primary challenger, and has even endorsed Tshibaka, the senator will be getting some help from her party, if she indeed decides to run for re-election. 

During his Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who is the chairman of the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC) enthusiastically confirmed that they will "absolutely" be helping Murkowski out, including in the primary.

Host Chuck Todd had asked Sen. Scott to confirm that if when he said they were "going to support all incumbents and I'm just curious, does that include Lisa Murkowski, where the former president has endorsed a primary challenger?" He also asked "does that mean you will financially support Lisa Murkowski and actually help run a campaign against a primary opponent?"

In addition to his answer confirming that the NRSC "absolutely" would be, the chairman confirmed that at the NRSC "we support all of our incumbents."

Sen. Scott also expressed they were "going to be in a great position in '22" when it comes to winning back control of the Senate. Democrats only control the 50-50 Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris serves as a tie breaking vote. 

Further, as a poll conducted for Senate Majority PAC revealed in October, Democrats are in a grave position when it comes to how President Joe Biden is viewed in battleground states.

Neither Todd nor Scott mentioned Tshibaka by name. Not only was she endorsed by Trump in June, but also handily endorsed by the Alaska Republican Party in July. And, her polling numbers and fundraising abilities have been impressive.

The state party had also voted to censure Sen. Murkowski for being one of seven Republican senators to vote in favor of impeaching Trump in February, after he had already been out of office for weeks. 

Murkowski is also getting help from the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), a group aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as Reagan reported in April.

Making the race even more interesting is that Alaska now has a rank-choice voting system.

Regardless of financial backing, Murkowski is an electoral force to be reckoned with. While she lost the Republican primary for the 2010 race to Tea Party favorite Joe Miller, she managed to win her Senate seat thanks to a successful write-in campaign. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) had called the feat "really, really impressive" and noted she is "resilient," as Bridget Bowman and Lindsey McPherson reported for Roll Call in April. Sen. Cornyn chaired the NRSC in 2010, when the group supported Miller. 


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