President Donald Trump gave his public endorsement for the re-election of Republican Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy last week, but it came with a condition. Trump said that he would support Dunleavy only if he does not support Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in her bid for re-election.
Trump and Dunleavy said in statements that the governor accepted the endorsement. The governor thanked Trump for the endorsement and said he has “nothing to worry about” Murkowski.
Trump had said earlier in the week that if Dunleavy supported Murkowski, his endorsement of the governor would be “null and void.”
Murkowski has announced her intention to run this year for a fourth term in the Senate. She has won three straight elections since 2004 but has never won a majority of the popular vote in the state. She faces a primary challenge against Kelly Tshibaka, who Trump has also endorsed. Tshibaka has been described by Trump as “MAGA all the way.”
Trump has said that he will travel to Alaska this year to campaign for Tshibaka. The former president has promised to work for Murkowski’s defeat and other Republicans who supported his impeachment last January after the riots at the Capitol building.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that he and those aligned with him will support Murkowski for re-election, setting up an evident battle between him and Trump.
Trump’s public criticism of Murkowski dates back to 2018 when she opposed the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Trump said that she would lose in 2022 and “never recover.”
Tshibaka previously served as commissioner of administration for Alaska and has been praised by Trump as a fighter who stands for America First.
Last week Trump said that Murkowski is “bad for Alaska” and called her a disaster for the state.