Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has won reelection, fending off a challenge from a far-right Republican backed by former President Donald Trump.
Murkowski, who will now enter her fourth term in the Senate, defeated Kelly Tshibaka in the third round of her state’s new system of ranked-choice voting. She also defeated Democrat Patricia Chesbro. Murkowski won with nearly 54%.
It took more than two weeks for Alaska election officials to tally the final results of the race. That was expected.
Under the state’s new system of elections, voters ranked their top four candidates — regardless of party affiliation — in the order of whom they wanted to win. Their second, third and fourth choices were only factored in if their first and later choices finished last and didn’t make it to the next round. The election ended as soon as one candidate got more than 50% of the vote.
Since neither Murkowski nor Tshibaka got 50% after the first-choice vote counts, election officials moved on to factor in second choice picks. In the end, Murkowski was the first to get a majority vote.
The Alaska senator, who regularly wins elections by catering to a broad base of moderate Republicans, independents and Democrats, certainly benefited from the state’s new election system, which voters approved in 2020. In the primary, all she had to do to advance was be one of the four top vote-getters. In the general election, Murkowski, who is easily the most moderate Republican in today’s Senate, was well positioned to pick up more votes across party lines as voters’ second- and third-ranked choices were factored in.
Murkowski had been a prime target for defeat by Trump, who has been vowing to unseat her ever since she was one of seven Republicans who voted to convict him for inciting the Jan. 6, 2...