Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski defeated Donald Trump-backed fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka Wednesday after the state invoked its ranked voting system, winning her fourth full term in the Senate.
Murkowski, who famously won reelection in 2010 as a write-in candidate after losing her primary, was leading Tshibaka by 7 percentage points when the AP called the race on Nov. 23 at 8:09 p.m. Eastern time.
Both Murkowski and Tshikaba had advanced into the top four in the state’s all-party Senate primary this summer, as did Tshibaka and two other candidates (Democrat Patricia Chesbro and Republican Buzz Kelley).
The race was called more than two weeks after Election Day because state law allows 15 days for ballots to arrive from remote areas and military voters before it does the ranked voting process in contests in which the top candidate does not get more than 50 percent on the first ballot.
Tshibaka was a commissioner in the Alaska Department of Administration and also worked as a special assistant to the Department of Justice’s inspector general. She describes herself as a conservative who opposes abortion rights and supports the Second Amendment.
In the House, Democrat Mary Peltola, who was elected to Congress last August to finish the remainder of late GOP Rep. Don Young’s term, beat Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich III to win her first full term in Congress. Peltola, buoyed by the support of independents and Republicans including Murkowski, led Palin by almost 10 points when the Associated Press called the race Nov. 23.
She won fiercely independent Alaska behind a nonpartisan motto of “Fish, Family, and Freedom.” Peltola also defeated Libertarian Chris Bye.
Alaska changed its election law this year to one in which voters rank their choices of up to four candidates on the ballot. If no one gets more than 50 percent in the first tally, then the last-place finisher is eliminated and his or her voters’ second choices are allocated. The process repeats until a candidate tops 50 percent.
Chris Cioffi contributed to this report.