Murkowski pointed to a state investigation into whether Tshibaka illegally obtained a fishing license for a sportfishing event in 2019 because she had not lived in the state for the past 12 months.
“Alaskans take their fishing very seriously,” Murkowski said. “He has a problem with his fishing license and a problem with residency.”
“It’s not what I care about,” she said. “That’s what cares about others.”
Asked what she thought of her potential rival, Murkowski said, “I don’t know her. She came back to the state only a few years ago.”
Tshibaka, who has questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s victory, sparked renewed scrutiny in Alaska a month after her endorsement of Trump.
Tim Murtaugh, a senior adviser to the Tshibaka campaign, said Tshibaka was invited to the charitable event in his official capacity as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration. He said the form was filled out for a license that expired after a day, showing “a clear intention to purchase a non-resident license” even if someone punched a hole in the door for a resident license.
“Lisa Murkowski is obviously concerned about Kelly if she is willing to attack him on this,” Murtaugh said.
The Tshibaka adviser then attacked the senator, saying he had promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act before voting to keep it, and voted to ratify the “energy-devastating” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “Murkowski has a long record of demonstrating the lack of integrity that always comes at the loss of Alaskans’ jobs, rights and security,” Murtaugh said.
The Alaska race is one of Trump’s top-tier goals—where he is bound to face off against McConnell and his well-funded super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund.
Asked on Thursday if his group was ready to help Murkowski, McConnell told CNN: “Absolutely.”
“I totally expect him” to run, he said.
Murkowski herself is concerned about whether she will run again, she told the Capitol on Thursday: “I’m not announcing anything at this time.”
But when asked if he had any concerns about facing a Trump-backed challenge, he said “absolutely not” at first.
“I’ve dealt with these things in the past,” said the moderate Republican, a reference to overcoming a backlash from conservative Republicans in his 2010 race.
Murkowski and Tshibaka both claim the authenticity of their Alaskans. Tshibaka’s expedition website notes that she was born in Alaska and raised in Wasilla and Anchorage. Before joining the administration of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Tshibaka worked in the offices of the Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. Tshibaka has tried to cast Murkowski’s experience in the Senate as a downside, saying that the people of Alaska feel “forgotten” by the senator.
Murkowski notes on her official website that she is “a third-generation Alaskan proudly serving as the first Alaska-born senator.” He was first appointed to his seat in 2002 by his father, former Gov. Frank Murkowski.
Residence issues have troubled Murkowski’s detractors in the past. In 2010, Murkowski lost to Tea Party candidate Joe Miller in the GOP primary, but later ran a rarely successful writing campaign in the general election. Miller’s critics also took to the stories questioning whether he had met the residency requirement for hunting and fishing licenses when he finished Yale Law School.
If she runs, as expected, Murkowski could very well benefit from a new system where candidates run together in a nonpartisan primary, and the top four finishers advance to the general election, when voters choose their preferences. rank up.
While Murkowski hasn’t officially entered the contest, Tshibaka has already rebuked the senator for the idea of an Alaska Republican to cut deals with Democrats and break with Trump.
But Matthew Shakro, campaign manager for Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan’s 2020 race, said Murkowski could be rewarded for striking a deal on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that would rebuild Alaska’s roads, bridges and ports. Will send federal funds.
“The people of Alaska look forward to a congressional delegation that does great things for our state,” Shakro said. “Senator Murkowski, Sullivan and Congressman” [Don] That’s what Young did.”
CNN’s Ali Zaslav contributed to this report.