Seven affiliates of the Alaska Republican Party have now formally slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his interference in the Alaskan Senate contest against the party-endorsed candidate.
On Wednesday, the Republican Women of Kenai became the latest Alaska Republican group to lambast the Kentucky senator and demanded his own state party censure him. In March last year, the Alaska Republican Party censured Sen. Lisa Murkowski and pledged to support a primary opponent. The party endorsed Kelly Tshibaka four months later. Because Alaska will use ranked-choice voting in its general election in lieu of traditional party primaries, the two Republicans are still embattled in competition.
“Be it resolved that the Republican women of the Kenai,” Wednesday’s resolution read, “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.”
The group called on the state GOP to order a halt to attack ads from McConnell’s super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), targeting Tshibaka. The SLF charged with reclaiming the Republican majority has dropped more than $5 million in the race to defend Murkowski in the race between two Republicans, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The few polls conducted in the contest show the race neck-in-neck between Tshibaka and the incumbent senator under the state’s ranked-choice voting scheme.
Last week, former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Tshibaka, railed against McConnell for spending millions on Murkowski in Alaska while pulling out of Arizona, where the SLF canceled $18 million in planned support for Republican venture capitalist Blake Masters.
“Kelly Tshibaka is doing very well in Alaska, probably leading horrendously bad Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican (barely!),” Trump wrote in a statement earlier this month.
Wednesday’s resolution from the Republican Women of Kenai marks the seventh affiliate of the Alaska Republican Party to reprimand the Kentucky senator. Six more groups passed similar resolutions in recent weeks, according to Must Read Alaska columnist Suzanne Downing, including four organized districts of the Alaska GOP, the Mat-Su Republican Women’s Club, and the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club.
Both Masters and Tshibaka have pledged to oppose McConnell for another term in Senate leadership.
“This just shows that Alaskans don’t like to be told what to do by Lower 48 outsiders, especially those who are spending millions of dollars in false attack ads to meddle in our elections,” Mary Ann Pruitt, an Alaskan consultant advising Tshibaka, told The Federalist. “The Alaska Republican Party has endorsed Kelly Tshibaka over Lisa Murkowski, so Alaska Republicans are telling Mitch McConnell to butt out.”
Meanwhile in Arizona, outside conservative groups such as Heritage Action for America are stepping in to get Masters across the finish line for a key pickup against vulnerable incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly. Even though polls are often manipulated to fit media narratives, Masters remains within three points of the Democrat lawmaker, according to RealClearPolitics’ latest aggregate.