Anti-Trump Sen. Murkowski is now projected to lose

Anti-Trump Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) decades in the U.S. Senate might finally be coming to an end.

The website FiveThirtyEight is now projecting that there is a good possibility that Murkowski gets defeated this November by her pro-Trump opponent, Kelly Tshibaka. 

The projection

According to FiveThirtyEight’s election simulator, Tshibaka would now be expected to win in 53 out of 100 scenarios.

Admittedly, this is not the most comfortable lead that a candidate would like to have. Chances are that it is probably going to be a close, but, then again, it might not be.

The uncertainty stems from several factors, including the polls, which have been all over the place.

Other polling

Of the relatively small number of polls that have been taken since the primaries, some polls have Murkowski significantly in the lead and some have the race as a toss-up.

Another factor that adds to the uncertainty is that, for the election, rank-choice voting will be used. FiveThirtyEight explains how this works, writing:

If no candidate wins at least 50 percent of the vote in the first round of counting, the election advances to an “instant runoff.” The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and any votes for that candidate are then assigned to that voter’s next choice. This continues until only two candidates are left. In simulations where an “instant runoff” is necessary, popular-vote margin is calculated using final-round vote shares (after all but two candidates have been eliminated).

So, the race might not come down to who voted for Tshibaka or who voted for Murkowski, but it might just come down to who the second choice is of those voters who vote for Pat Chesbro (D), the third candidate in the running for Murkowski’s seat. It is here that Murkowski is believed to have the edge.

Another establishment v. Trump fight

This race is going to be another battle between an establishment-type Republican, in Murkowski, and a pro-Trump Republican, in Tshibaka.

Murkowski is the epitome of an establishment-type Republican. After getting her Senate seat from her father, Murkowski has held on to it for the past 21 years. During that time, Murkowski has shown a propensity to vote with the Democrats on a number of key issues – something that, if re-elected, she vows to continue to do – and Murkowski has also voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.

Additionally, Murkowski has received 85% of her fundraising from outside of Alaska. Compare that to Tshibaka who has fundraised $20,000 more than Murkowski inside of Alaska.

Murkowski, in short, is a Washington D.C., establishment politician, through and through, and this is why it is believed that non-Republican voters will likely lead her to reelection. But, as FiveThirtyEight’s projection shows, Tshibaka now has a legitimate chance at the upset.

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