Alaska’s U.S. Sen. Murkowski and Trump-backed opponent both secure enough votes to face off in November

Democrat Mary Peltola is leading in the race for Alaska's lone U.S. House of Representatives seat, but a new ranked choice system could favor former Governor Sarah Palin.

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U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) asks questions to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing to discuss the fiscal year 2023 budget of the Department of Justice at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on April 26, 2022. (Greg Nash / Pool via Reuters)

WASHINGTON — Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski and challenger Kelly Tshibaka, a state government commissioner endorsed by Donald Trump, will face off in November, Edison Research said on Wednesday, after coming in the top four candidates in Alaska’s open primary.

Murkowski, who has held the seat since 2003 and won with a write-in campaign in 2010 after losing the Republican nomination, is a moderate whose votes Democrats often court.

In the race to replace the late longtime Alaska Representative Don Young, Democratic candidate Mary Peltola led in initial vote counts. But Alaska’s new ranked choice voting system means that former Governor Sarah Palin, one of two Republicans in the race, stood to pick up votes as candidates with fewer votes are eliminated.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Moira Warburton in Washington. Additions by ArcticToday.