Murkowski’s Trump Endorsed Challenger Says She Will Not Back McConnell

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A former top Alaska official who is challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) with the support of former President Trump said Monday, December 13, 2021, she wouldn’t back Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) for a leadership position if she wins the election next year.

In a statement posted on her campaign website, Kelly Tshibaka accused McConnell of giving in to the Biden administration.

“Mitch McConnell has repeatedly bailed out Joe Biden, giving him gifts of Senate votes, which are the only things keeping the Biden administration on life support,” Tshibaka said. “As an example, after rescuing Biden with the last debt ceiling increase, McConnell said he would never do it again. But he just did, and he had Lisa Murkowski’s help in doing so.”

“The actions of McConnell and Murkowski on the debt ceiling show that it’s the political elites pitted against real Americans. When I defeat Murkowski and become Alaska’s next U.S. Senator, I will not support Mitch McConnell as a leader. It’s time for new, America First leadership in the Senate,” Tshibaka said.

Tshibaka, a former state administration commissioner, quit her position earlier this year to challenge Murkowski. Trump endorsed Tshibaka, who has hired several former Trump advisers as campaign consultants after Murkowski voted to convict the former president in his second impeachment trial.

The statement is the second in opposition to McConnell from a prominent Senate contender this year after former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) also said he would not back McConnell. Trump routinely belittles McConnell, who voted to certify the Electoral College tally that drove Trump from office earlier this year. But Trump’s antipathy has not translated into angst among Senate Republicans, who unanimously back McConnell as their leader.

Murkowski, seeking her fourth full term in the Senate, is no stranger to upstart challengers. She lost her bid for renomination in 2010, though she won the general election as a write-in candidate.

By the end of September, Tshibaka reported raising $1.2 million and banking just $294,000. Murkowski’s campaign reported to the Federal Election Commission it had $3.2 million in the bank.