GOP Senator, Dem Congresswoman Endorse One Another In Alaska

GOP Senator, Dem Congresswoman Endorse One Another In Alaska

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK) have publicly endorsed one another ahead of the November midterms, despite serving in different political parties.

Murkowski announced her endorsement and plans to vote for Peltola on Friday at Alaska’s Federation of Natives convention.

“I know that bothers some people who want me to be that rigid, partisan person, and I’m just not… I do not toe the party line just because party leaders have asked or because it may be expected,” Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News.

“We have been friends for 25 years, and the fact that we’re Republican and Democrat has never interfered with that friendship,” she added.

Peltola added that she also plans to rank Murkowski as her first choice as senator on the state’s ranked-choice election ballot.

“I’m voting for her, so we’re even-steven,” Peltola said, according to the Washington Post.

Both leaders face difficult elections in November. Murkowski, who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump after the Capitol riot, faces Trump-endorsed GOP opponent Kelly Tshibaka along with Democrat Patricia Chesbro in a fight to keep her Senate seat in the ranked-choice voting battle.

Peltola’s House battle has also been controversial, with the Democrat winning her seat in an August special election despite receiving only 40% of the overall vote. Because no candidate on the ranked-choice ballot received at least 50% of the election’s votes, the two top candidates, Peltola and Republican Sarah Palin, faced off with second-place votes included, giving Democrats their first Alaskan House seat in decades.

The special election sought to fill the seat left vacant following the death of Republican Rep. Don Young, who died earlier in the year. The November election will determine who serves as the state’s House member for the next two years.

On the November ballot, Peltola will face Palin along with returning Republican candidate Nick Begich and Libertarian candidate Chris Bye. The top four candidates advance to the final ballot under the state’s ranked-choice system.

After the surprising August loss, both Palin and Begich are now urging Alaskans to “rank the red,” meaning they want voters to select their GOP opponent as their second choice to secure a Republican victory over Peltola.

Republican Party leaders in the state are also urging voters to take the same approach with Murkowski and Tshibaka in the Senate race to avoid similar concerns with Chesbro. The win is also important nationally as Republicans seek to regain control of the deadlocked 50-50 chamber.

Both Palin and Tshibaka have been backed by Trump and were part of his rally event in Alaska. Tshibaka has also vowed not to support Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for another term as the party’s Senate leader if she is elected due to his criticisms of Trump.