Posted by Russell Daniels on February 19, 2021 at 3:26 PM
Angry Trump partisans facing major obstacles in effort to oust Murkowski after impeachment vote
With fellow Republican Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) facing pushback and censure in their home states for voting to convict Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection in his just-concluded impeachment trial, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) may get flack, but she has far fewer worries about losing her seat if she runs for re-election.
Murkowski is the only one of the dissident Republicans facing a referendum on her vote in the form of facing voters in the coming midterm election, but recent election law changes in Alaska make the probability of a pro-Trump insurgent nominee from the right unseating her as a nominee highly unlikely.
According to the National Review's John McCormack, Alaska enacted new voting rules in the just concluded election that switched the state's primary to an open one and not divided by parties.
As McCormack writes, "First, Alaska got rid of partisan primaries and established an open primary in which the top four primary candidates will compete in the general election." Add to that, Alaska will be implementing ranked-choice voting that will create another obstacle.
According to Ballotpedia, "A candidate needs a simple majority of the vote (50%+1) to be declared the winner of an election. If no candidate wins a simple majority of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. People who voted for that candidate as their first choice would have their votes redistributed to their second choice."
McCormack also notes that this will not be the first time that Murkowski has drawn the ire of far-right Republicans. In 2010 she lost the primary to arch-conservative candidate Joe Miller, only to defeat him in the general election by successfully running a write-in campaign.
As the columnist points out, "Since 2016, Murkowski has bucked her party on a number of issues. She declined to vote for Trump or the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 (just as she had done in 2016)," before adding, "It's been a delicate dance for Murkowski, but if she simply finishes first or second place in the first round of balloting in 2022, she'll very likely keep her seat."