U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski prepares to meet officials at the Sealaska Heritage Institute during a visit to Juneau on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski prepares to meet officials at the Sealaska Heritage Institute during a visit to Juneau on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)

Murkowski takes narrow lead in U.S. Senate race

As of 5:50 p.m. on Friday, Murkowski was leading Tshibaka by fewer than 1,000 votes

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski edged ahead in her bid for reelection to Congress on Friday after a new round of election results gave her a narrow margin over challenger Kelly Tshibaka.

As of 5:50 p.m. on Friday, Murkowski was leading Tshibaka by fewer than 1,000 votes — a difference of about four-tenths of a percentage point. Of the more than 258,000 votes already counted, Murkowski has received 43.19% compared to Tshibaka’s 42.82%.

The two candidates, both Republicans, are followed by Democratic candidate Pat Chesbro, who has received about 10.3% of votes, and Republican Buzz Kelley, who suspended his campaign earlier this year.

Incumbent U.S. House Rep. Mary Peltola maintained her solid lead in the race for the U.S. House. As of Friday evening, Peltola had received about 48.6% of votes. She’s followed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who received about 25.9% of votes, Nick Begich III with 23.4% of votes and Libertarian Chris Bye with 1.7% of votes.

In the race for governor, incumbent Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s lead over other candidates lessened slightly.

Dunleavy, running with Nancy Dahlstrom, has received about 50.4% of the more than 260,000 votes cast. Trailing are Democratic candidate Les Gara, with about 24.1% of votes, and former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, with about 20.6% of votes. Former Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has received about 4.5% of votes.

Local candidates for state office also maintained leads after the most recent results update.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Jesse Bjorkman still holds a solid lead over Tuckerman Babcock in the race for State Senate District D, which includes the northern Kenai Peninsula including Kenai and Soldotna. Of the more than 15,100 votes counted so far, Bjorkman has received about 45.8% of votes, as compared to Babcock, who has received about 41.6% of votes.

A third candidate, nonpartisan Andy Cizek, also ran for the seat. He received about 11.6% of votes cast. Under ranked choice voting, if neither Bjorkman nor Babcock have received more than 50% of all votes cast on Nov. 23, when the Alaska Division of Elections plans to have all votes counted, Cizek will be eliminated from the race and his votes will be redistributed to the two other candidates.

In the race for the Alaska State House seat that includes Kenai and Soldotna, Soldotna City Council member Justin Ruffridge retained his lead over incumbent Rep. Ron Gillham. Both candidates are Republicans. Of the more than 6,800 votes already counted, Ruffridge has received about 52.6% of votes. Gillham has received about 46.5% of votes.

Nov. 29 is the target date for the State Review Board to certify the results of the Nov. 8 election, according to the Alaska Division of Elections. The state on Nov. 23 will determine whether any candidate received more than 50% of the vote. If not, ranked choice tabulation will begin.

Preliminary election results can be found on the Alaska Division of Elections website at elections.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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