The Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) announced on Friday that it will support Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in her re-election campaign.
The group is aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has said that he will “Absolutely” support Murkowski’s re-election bid.
Murkowski, often described as a moderate Republican, voted to convict former President Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial in January.
After her vote, the Alaska Republican Party voted to censure Murkowski for her conviction vote.
They also said that they would recruit a Republican challenger – which could set up a head-to-head matchup between the establishment wing of the GOP and Trumpworld.
The 2022 midterm elections may come down to a simple matter of who decides the future direction of the Republican Party.
The McConnell-backed SLF had a war chest last election cycle of $475 million will now throw it’s weight behind not just Murkowski, but could also back a number of establishment incumbents like her.
SLF President Steven Law said, “Alaska needs the kind of experienced representation that Lisa Murkowski provides in the United States Senate. Whether fighting for Alaskan interests like expanding energy production and protecting fisheries, or advancing conservative priorities by confirming judges and cutting taxes, her strong leadership is vitally important to Alaska’s future.”
In response to the SLF statement, Mary Ann Pruitt, advisor to Kelly Tshibaka – who is running against Murkowski in the GOP primary – released a statement saying, “It’s just like D.C. insiders to ignore the voices of Alaska voters to protect one of their own.”
Kelly Tshibaka is positioning herself as an outsider, saying in a video of her intent to run that Murkowski was “so out of touch” for voting to convict Trump after he had already left office.
Prior to her current run for Senate, Tshibaka has worked in the office of inspector general for the U.S. Postal service, Federal Trade Commission, and Department of Justice.
She resigned her position in Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy’s administration to concentrate on her run for the Senate.
Within the Republican Party, it is starting to look like a matter of picking sides. That began to be apparent during the waning days of the Trump administration.
A new breed of Trump-supporting, outspoken Republican Congress members like Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert came along.
Opposite that Trump wing stand establishment Republicans like Rep. Liz Cheney and McConnell.
From almost right after his second impeachment trial, Trump has had an eye on supporting any primary challenger of several members of Congress who had voted to impeach him.
It was thought that, should any of those Congress members received a primary challenge, Trump supporters would be fired up enough to support the challengers as well.
Cheney garnered a primary challenge almost immediately following her impeachment vote. Several others have as well. Nearly every Republican Senator who had voted to convict Trump was censured by their local party.
Donald Trump is already in position to endorse candidates and be a major player in the 2022 midterm election.
His new Save America PAC has, in the words of those in the know, ‘gargantuan’ amounts of cash.
He has already began endorsing candidates, including Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC), John Kennedy (R-LA), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R), and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in her run for Governor of Arkansas.
Trump most recently endorsed Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks in his bid for the Senate, and America First Senator Rand Paul.
No word yet if Trump will be traveling to Alaska to give out an endorsement to Kelly Tshibaka. However, both wings of the party seem to be flush with cash, and 2022 could prove to be an interesting year.
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