ANCHORAGE — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski won her bid for re-election, fending off a crowded field of challengers that included the man who beat her in the Republican primary six years ago and an independent who has garnered support from within the Alaska Democratic party.
Murkowski’s last two Senate races were nail-biters. In 2004, she edged out Democrat Tony Knowles to keep the seat to which her father, then the governor, appointed her in 2002. In 2010, she lost the GOP primary to Joe Miller but won the general election with a write-in campaign.
While this election has lacked the drama of 2010, it has had its surprises, including Miller’s late entrance into the race as a Libertarian. Several Republicans quit leadership posts in their party to publicly back his run.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Miller greeted supporters waving signs during rush hour traffic in Anchorage and said he felt good. He said his campaign has been aided by a strong group of volunteers dedicated to changing the direction of Alaska and the U.S. He said he looked forward to a good result on election night.
Two factions of the Democratic party endorsed independent Margaret Stock, an immigration attorney, over their own nominee, Ray Metcalfe, an anti-corruption crusader who has feuded with party leaders over the party’s direction.
The race also includes a handful of lesser-known independent and write-in candidates.
Stock and Miller cast themselves as outsiders and tried to break through the field to challenge the well-financed Murkowski.
Murkowski touted her seniority and reputation as a moderate, while Stock and Miller sought to paint her as part of the problem in an ineffective Congress.
One of Murkowski’s biggest worries heading into the election was whether the vitriolic presidential race would turn off voters and keep them at home. She said she was taking nothing for granted and urged her supporters to get the polls.
Murkowski distanced herself from her party’s nominee, Donald Trump, after a 2005 video of him making lewd comments about women surfaced. She said she couldn’t vote for him or Democrat Hillary Clinton. But she declined to say who she ultimately voted for.
Regardless of who becomes president, Murkowski said Congress will need to “get its act together,” work to advance priorities and govern.
She said she would work with whoever becomes president “when it is going to advance Alaska’s interest. And if what they’re doing harms Alaska, I will block them at every corner,” she said Monday evening.