Nineteen candidates are running in the top-four primary for United States Senate in Alaska on August 16, 2022. Incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is running for re-election.
This is the first use of the top-four primary system for a U.S. Senate seat in Alaska since voters approved its use in November 2020. All candidates run in a single primary regardless of party affiliation. The four candidates to receive the most votes advance to the general election, where the winner is decided using ranked-choice voting.
The 19 candidates include eight Republicans, three Democrats, one Libertarian, five independents, and two Alaskan Independence Party candidates.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver wrote that it’s likely that at least two Republican candidates and a Democratic one will advance to the general election following the primary. Four total candidates will advance.
As of July 2022, the candidates who reported raising funds for the election or had been named in public polling were:
- Murkowski, who was endorsed by 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);
- Kelly Tshibaka (R), a former commissioner at the Alaska Department of Administration who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump (R) and the Alaska Republican Party;
- Patricia Chesbro (D), an educator from Palmer;
- Huhnkie Lee (I), a computer programmer and attorney;
- Shoshana Gungurstein (I), a businesswoman;
- Sean Thorne (L), a U.S. Army veteran;
- and Dustin Darden (Alaskan Independence Party), a maintenance worker and 2018 candidate for the Alaska House of Representatives.
Three election forecasters rate the general election Solid or Safe Republican.
Murkowski’s father, Frank Murkowski (R), held the Senate seat 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. She is one of two U.S. Senators, alongside South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond in 1954, to have been elected as a write-in candidate.
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