A former Alaska state official who has the endorsement of Donald Trump will try to unseat Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday.
Republican-supported Kelly Tshibaka and Murkowski are both expected to advance beyond Tuesday’s primary in Alaska’s new voting system. Educator Pat Chesbro is the front-runner on the Democratic ticket, but the seat is considered solidly Republican.
Voters will choose their top candidates in the nonpartisan primaryand the top four candidates, regardless of party, move to the general election in November.
Here is what you need to know about the Trump-backed candidate, Tshibaka.
Who is Kelly Tshibaka?
Kelly Tshibaka was born and raised in Alaska. She received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in 1999 and earned a law degree from Harvard University in 2002.
Her father worked as a union electrician and her mother as one of the first workers at the startup of Alaska’s largest oil field, according to her campaign website.
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Tshibaka worked as Alaska’s commissioner of administration from January 2019 to March 2021.
Run for Senate
Tshibaka announced her run for Senate in March 2021, according to Alaska Public Media.
She is running because “it was the people of Alaska who stood up for me and gave me opportunities in life, and now I want to stand up for the people of Alaska,” her campaign website reads. Tshibaka’s site describes her as anti-abortion and pro-Second Amendment.
She criticizes Murkowski as a Washington insider on her campaign site, noting Murkowski was appointed to her father’s vacant Senate seat when he was elected Alaska’s governor.
Donald Trump’s endorsement
Trump endorsed Tshibaka on June 18, 2021, and at a rally in July, Trump called Tshibaka’s opponent Murkowski “the worst. I rate her No. 1 bad.”
Murkowski was among the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach the former president at his second impeachment trial, which focused on his alleged incitement of the Jan. 6 assault by a pro-Trump mob on the Capitol.
In April 2021, Tshibaka told CNN that “we don’t know the outcome of the 2020 election,” when she was asked whether she was in agreement with the former president that the 2020 elections were stolen.
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“In the 2020 election, there were questions raised in several states, and we’re not allowed to look into the questions of those allegations to see what actually happened,” Tshibaka said in an interview with CNN.
Claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election have been proven false through several investigations and court rulings.
Contributing: Dylan Wells