After leaving people to wonder for months, during which time she has already earned a primary challenger, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has officially announced she's running for re-election in a video posted to Twitter.
BREAKING NEWS: I am excited to announce that I’m running for re-election to continue representing the great state of Alaska.— Lisa Murkowski (@LisaForSenate) November 12, 2021
Watch more on why I’m running to be your independent voice! pic.twitter.com/afTzZSQ0qT
It is clear from the beginning that Murkowski is indeed looking to speak to that "independent voice." The first half of the video features a narrator who points out that, among other things, Murkowski "has earned the respect of her colleagues in both parties" and that she is "cutting through the partisan gridlock and dysfunction in Washington to get results for us [Alaskans.]"
In the second half, Murkowski speaks to the camera herself, to warn that "in this election, lower 48 outsiders are going to try to grab Alaska's senate seat, for their partisan agendas." She even goes on to claim that "they don't understand our state, and frankly, they couldn't care less about your future."
The senator shares that her "commitment to Alaska is the same one I made during my first campaign" which is that she "will work with anyone, from either party, to advance Alaska's prioties."
She even made remarks that are surely in reference to former President Donald Trump. "And I will always stand up to any politician or special interest that threatens our way of life."
Murkowski was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump at his second impeachment trial in February, after he had already left office. For such actions, the Alaska Republican Party voted to censure her in July. They've endorsed her main primary opponent, former Alaska Commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka as well. Trump has also endorsed Tshibaka, in addition to calling out Murkowski in a statement in March, and emphasized the need to primary her.
The video likely serves to draw an even deeper contrast between Murkowski and Tshibaka, who portrays herself as having "America First Conservative values."
I’ll never apologize for standing up for our America First Conservative values of being Pro-Life and Pro-2nd Amendment. I’m proud to raise my 5 children with those same values. pic.twitter.com/glgyStEeog— Kelly Tshibaka (@KellyForAlaska) June 17, 2021
In a press release released on Friday in response to Murkowski's announcement, Tshibaka touted her endorsement from the state party, as well as claiming the current senator has enabled President Joe Biden:
“It’s now official that Lisa Murkowski won’t relinquish the Senate seat her father appointed her to 20 years ago, but it’s just as clear that Alaskans are fed up with her. Alaskans know that she has turned her back on us, and that she cares more about Washington, D.C. insiders than she does about the people of her own state. It’s why her fundraising is fueled by elite powerbrokers and why she has attracted virtually no support from actual Alaskans.
“Even the Alaska Republican Party has overwhelmingly censured Murkowski, told her not to identify herself as a Republican in Alaska, and instead endorsed my candidacy over a year before the election. She has been an enthusiastic enabler of the radical Biden administration that is devastating our energy industry and ruining the Alaska economy. She has consistently cast votes that gain her favor in D.C. cocktail parties, but wreak havoc on workers back home in Alaska. And she actively worked against President Trump, whose policies were the best that Alaska has ever known.
“The recent elections showed that Americans nationwide reject the vast overreach of government and want their elected leaders to defend them from the radical policies coming from Joe Biden’s administration. Lisa Murkowski has served as Biden’s Chief Enabling Officer and has done nothing to stop him from harming our workers and families.
“I am running to give voice to the people of Alaska, because I want to stand up for them like they have stood up for me. It’s time for new conservative leaders with courage and common sense to lead our nation forward, and I stand ready to step into that responsibility.”
As the incumbent, Murkowski certainly has advantages, which includes the support from the NRSC, as well as the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), a group aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
On Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the chair of the NRSC had also emphasized support for Murkowski during his appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Murkowski is also a force to be reckoned with considering that while she lost the primary in 2010 to Joe Miller, with Miller thus receiving support from the NRSC as the nominee, she still won her 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. Cornyn chaired the NRSC in 2010.
It's also worth noting that while Murkowski calls out those involved in the race when it comes to these "lower 48 outsiders," her video announcement was posted to Twitter at 8:00am on the East Coast, which would have been at 4:00am for her constituents in Alaska.