Primary Challenger to Murkowski Says She Hurt State By Turning Back on Trump

(USA Features) A top primary challenger to Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she hurt the state and its residents by helping Joe Biden win after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Kelly Tshibaka also said that during his campaign, Biden made it clear he sought to close off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And though she understood how important the oil fields in the refuge were to the state, Murkowski nevertheless helped Biden by turning her back on Trump.

“She picked a needless fight with Donald Trump. His policies were really good for Alaska. He opened up oil and gas jobs for us,” she told the outlet.

“He reduced taxes for us. He supported our military. We have a strong military presence up here, and he rebuilt the military, and her impeachment vote made a lot of people angry in Alaska,” Tshibaka added.

Biden also promised to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline, which he also did, though affected states are considering legal action against the administration over the decision.

Tshibaka also noted that Murkowski, as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, did not press then-Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland about Alaska’s oil leases, though the former New Mexico Democratic congresswoman has long opposed Arctic drilling.

“She didn’t ask her a single question about what her position was on the future of the oil leases and permits, and that really is determinative of what our future for oil and gas jobs are going to be. Biden has already signaled that he intends to shut down oil and gas development in Alaska,” Tshibaka said.

The Harvard-educated lawyer who worked 18 years in Washington for the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General also said that the state has changed in the past two decades, suggesting that has to do, in part, with poor leadership from Murkowski.

“In the last 20 years or so, we’ve been really short on opportunity, and that’s the same amount of time Lisa Murkowski has been in the Senate,” she told the Examiner.

Murkowski is up for reelection next year. The Examiner cited a recent survey that shows Tshibaka leading Murkowski by double digits.