Alaska Governor Accepts Trump Endorsement with Murkowski-Related Ultimatum

Elections
Alaska governor Mike Dunleavy at an event in Anchorage in January 2020 (Yereth Rosen/Reuters)

Alaska governor Mike Dunleavy accepted the endorsement of former president Donald Trump on Thursday, including Trump’s condition that the Republican governor cannot endorse Republican senator Lisa Murkowski in her reelection bid in the state.

Trump announced in a statement that Dunleavy, who is running for a second term, had accepted his endorsement. 

“Please tell the president thank you for the endorsement,” Dunleavy said in the statement. “With regard to the other issue, please tell the president he has nothing to worry about. I appreciate all 45 has done for Alaska and this country.”

On Tuesday, Trump said his endorsement would be “null and void” if Dunleavy chose to endorse Murkowski for reelection.

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Murkowski announced last month that she will seek reelection to the Senate in 2022, setting up a primary fight against Trump-backed challenger Kelly Tshibaka.

Former president Trump has promised to visit Alaska to campaign for Tshibaka to make good on his threats to unseat Murkowski and other moderate Republicans who voted to impeach him for incitement of an insurrection in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot.

The race is expected to test Republican voters’ loyalty to Trump and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), as McConnell has said he and his allies will support Murkowski.

Murkowski first received negative attention from Trump when she opposed Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination in 2018. Trump said at the time that the Alaskan senator would “never recover from this” and lose in 2022.

In campaigning for Tshibaka, who formerly served as Alaska’s commissioner of administration, Trump called Murkowski “bad for Alaska” and lauded Tshibaka as “a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America First.”

On Thursday, Trump called Murkowski a “disaster from Alaska” and celebrated Dunleavy’s decision to comply with his condition. 

“This is why Mike Dunleavy has been, and will be, a great governor,” Trump said.

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