The Alaska GOP formally censured Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over the weekend for the Kentucky lawmaker’s interference in the Arctic Senate race between two Republicans.
On Monday, the state Republican central committee announced the results of an overwhelming vote to admonish the national party leader over attack ads against Kelly Tshibaka, the candidate endorsed by the Alaska GOP who is challenging incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The final vote came to 49-8 in favor of a resolution censuring McConnell and the minority leader’s Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) which has pumped more than $5 million into the race to defend a key McConnell ally in the upper chamber.
“No one from Alaska wants big shots from the Lower 48 meddling in our elections, and they certainly don’t want D.C. Republicans lying about the candidate who’s been endorsed by the Alaska GOP,” Mary Ann Pruitt, an advisor to Tshibaka, told The Federalist. “Alaska Republicans are telling Mitch McConnell to stay out of it. But this goes to show you who Lisa Murkowski is aligned with. She’s wearing the jersey of the Washington establishment of Biden, Pelosi, and McConnell, and she’s not on Alaska’s team.”
On Friday, Murkowski endorsed the state’s Democrat Congresswoman Mary Peltola in the state’s House race over former Republican governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, the other Republican in the contest. Two months ago, Peltola pulled off a surprise upset when she captured the seat in a special election, becoming the first Democrat to represent the state in the lower chamber since 1973. Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system, put in place by Murkowski operatives to avoid a competitive primary, opened the door for a Democrat to win the at-large House race.[READ: Alaska’s Ranked-Choice Voting Scheme Was A Plot To Save Murkowski, But It Also Doomed Palin]
The resolution from the Alaska Republican Party to censure McConnell comes after a cascade of similar resolutions from GOP groups in the state condemned the minority leader’s interference. Last week, the Republican Women of Kenai called on the state party directly to admonish the octogenarian lawmaker for working to defeat the chosen candidate of Alaska Republicans.
“Be it resolved that the Republican women of the Kenai,” read the group’s resolution, “that we request the Alaska Republican Party leadership demand Senator Mitch McConnell and the Senate Leadership Fund respect the Alaska Republican Party’s endorsement of Kelly Tshibaka.”
While propping up Murkowski with millions as she endorses Democrats, McConnell has stripped scarce resources from Republicans in tight races against Democrat incumbents. In Arizona, McConnell pulled $18 million from Republican venture capitalist Blake Masters, despite the chances of picking up a Republican seat if Masters defeats Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly. According to RealClearPolitics’ latest aggregate of polls (which are often manipulated to fit Democratic narratives), Masters remains within striking distance of the former astronaut at less than 3 points behind. That’s less than the nearly 5-point lead Kelly enjoyed just two weeks ago as the race narrows in the final month.
In New Hampshire, McConnell’s super PAC pulled about $5.6 million from Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc, also running in a toss-up race against a Democrat incumbent. RealClearPolitics’ aggregate of surveys shows Bolduc running less than 4 points behind Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan. The latest poll in the race, published Monday from American Greatness and Insider Advantage, shows Bolduc down only half of a percent, well within the 4 percent margin of error.
Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.
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