Former President Donald J. Trump backed Kelly Tshibaka in her race against Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski on Friday, supporting an underdog candidate who made false claims of election fraud and authored articles in support of conversion therapy for homosexuals last year.
“Lisa Murkowski is bad for Alaska,” Trump said in a statement, criticizing her vote for affirming Deb Haaland as home secretary. “Murkowski has to go!”
Ms. Murkowski was convicted by the Alaska Republican Party in March for her vote in conviction of Mr. Trump during his second impeachment trial. The state party said it did not want her, a moderate Republican who has represented the state since 2002, to be identified as a Republican in the 2022 elections.
However, the National Republican Senate Committee has supported Ms. Murkowski, indicating that his position is to defend the Republican incumbents.
Despite her political vulnerability, Ms. Murkowski has already mastered challenges from the right. In 2010, she became the first female senator in half a century to win a write-in nomination, defeating a popular Republican candidate affiliated with the Tea Party.
Little known in the national political arena, Ms. Tshibaka most recently served as Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Administration before stepping down to run for the Senate.
Hoping to capitalize on the popularity of Mr. Trump, who twice won Alaska by wide margin, Ms. Tshibaka positioned herself as a “MAGA”-loving outsider and promoted false theories about election fraud in the 2020 election.
As a student at Harvard Law School, she advocated “coming out of homosexuality,” and wrote approvingly on A Tag “Helping Homosexuals Overcome Their Sexual Orientations and Live Healthy Lifestyles,” according to the archives of her work, published by CNNs KFile were excavated. She also urged gays to take part in “pastoral counseling” and “responsibility groups”.
More recently, she has hired current advisors and former campaign managers to Mr. Trump, Bill Stepien and Justin Clark, and former campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh as advisors.
Mr Trump followed the race closely, his advisors said, hoping to depose Ms. Murkowski. He met with Ms. Tshibaka two weeks ago at Trump Tower, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
The top four candidates in the Alaskan bipartisan primary will advance to a general election that will be classified as a ranked election.