Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Representative Mary Beltula of Alaska each won re-election against opponents backed by Donald Trump on Wednesday, the latest high-profile defeats for candidates backed by the former president.
Beltula and Murkowski came out on top after Alaskan officials finished tabulating all ballots for the November 8 election using the state’s new “ranked pick” system, which allows voters to list candidates in order of preference.
Murkowski, 65, has represented Alaska in the Senate since 2002 and has carved out an independent picture as one of the few quarterbacks in the room.
She was the first Republican senator to call for Trump’s resignation after his supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election. They then voted to impeach Trump, his fellow Republican. .
“Thank you, Alaskans. I am so honored that Alaskans — of all regions, backgrounds, and political affiliations — have once again given me their confidence to continue working with them and on their behalf in the United States Senate,” Murkowski wrote on Twitter. .
Beltula, the first native of Alaska to be elected to Congress, defeated two Republicans: former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and businessman Nick Begich.
Palin, the former governor, is a polarizing figure within the Republican Party. His run for vice president in 2008 ushered in the era of American Tea Party politics and helped pave the way for Trump’s victory in the White House.
Murkowski and Beltula would have won even under the old Alaskan electoral rules, as they each received a large number of votes.
In the priority selection system, the candidate with the fewest votes in each counting round is eliminated and the votes that placed him in first place are redistributed. The candidate who receives the majority of votes after all votes have been counted wins.
After Beltula won a special election in August against the same candidates, Palin — approved by Trump — and Begić pressured each other to give up office and give the remaining Republicans a better chance of defeating the Democrat.
But each refused, insisting that his conservative offspring would be more popular with Alaskan voters. The state has one of the highest percentages of independent voters in the country.
The results of the race were widely expected, given the political leanings of unprecedented votes for candidates in each race.
However, they are a black eye for Trump at the start of his 2024 presidential campaign, especially after his contestants have been defeated in several other major races, including the Pennsylvania and Arizona senate contests.