Murkowski, Tshibaka, Chesbro, and Kelley advance to the general election in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race

Nineteen candidates ran in the top-four Senate primary in Alaska on August 16, 2022. Incumbent Lisa Murkowski (R), Kelly Tshibaka (R), Patricia Chesbro (D), and Buzz Kelley (R) advanced to the general election.

This was the first time the top-four primary was used in a Senate race since Alaska voters approved the concept in 2020. Under this system, all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, run in a single primary election. The four candidates who receive the most votes advance to the general election, where the winner is decided using ranked-choice voting.

The 19 candidates included eight Republicans, three Democrats, one Libertarian, five independents, and two Alaskan Independence Party candidates.

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver wrote it was likely at least two Republican candidates and a Democratic one would advance to the general election.

Murkowski, the incumbent since 2002, had the endorsements of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), fellow Alaska U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R), and Sens. Joe Manchin (D) and Kyrsten Sinema (D).

Tshibaka, a former commissioner at the Alaska Department of Administration had the endorsements of former President Donald Trump (R) and the Alaska Republican Party.

Chesbro is an educator from Palmer, and Kelley is a retired mechanic from Wasilla.

Three election forecasters rate the general election Solid or Safe Republican.

Murkowski’s father, Frank Murkowski (R), was Senator from 1980 to 2002, when he resigned to become governor of Alaska. After taking office, the elder Murkowski appointed his daughter to the U.S. Senate seat. In 2010, after losing the Republican nomination, Lisa Murkowski successfully ran for re-election as a write-in candidate. As of 2022, she was one of two U.S. Senators, alongside South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond in 1954, to have been elected as a write-in candidate.