Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is not weighing in on the special election to replace late Alaska Rep. Don Young just yet, but she’s asking the media to focus on other candidates in the race other than the Trump-endorsed candidate for the seat former governor Sarah Palin.
Asked to weigh in on Palin’s campaign, a frustrated Murkowski told Insider: “Well, have you looked at the 49 others? I have had so many questions in the past two days about one candidate — one individual out of 50 — who has advanced her name to fill our late Congressman’s seat.”
“I’m going to just challenge the press to take a look at some of the others, because there’s some folks with real good qualifications,” she added. “We have Native leaders, we have legislators who are currently serving and some who are formerly serving. We got some great businessmen and women.”
A whopping 50 candidates have signed up to run in the special election. The field will be narrowed down to four by ranked choice voting in a jungle primary on June 11. Murkowski indicated to Insider that she plans to make her endorsement then.
“We’re gonna have an opportunity to rank them, and we’ll have those top four,” Murkowski said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for me, in this kind of weird jungle primary, to be tipping the scales at this point.”
“This is your own kind of bubble,” she added. “I’m just telling you, you’re not in Alaska’s bubble, because Alaskans are talking about the others.”
Trump endorsed Palin Sunday, days after she announced plans to run for Alaska’s lone congressional seat.
“Sarah Palin is tough and smart and will never back down, and I am proud to give her my Complete and Total Endorsement, and encourage all Republicans to unite behind this wonderful person and her campaign to put America First,” Trump said in a statement, according to Politico.
Trump’s endorsement of Palin was him repaying her for endorsing him before the Iowa Caucuses in the 2016 Republican primary.
Murkowski and Palin have a much different history. Palin endorsed a tea party Republican challenger to Murkowski in 2010. Murkowski was defeated by this Palin-backed candidate in the primary but she came back to win in the general election as a write-in candidate.