The 50-50 Senate is up for grabs during the midterm election cycle, but a pair of Republican candidates believe they can overcome the odds in their races by promoting themselves as not creatures of Washington’s political establishment.
Senate candidates Don Bolduc of New Hampshire and Kelly Tshibaka of Alaska both went after ‘the establishment’ on Sunday during various TV appearances.
Bolduc, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general, and Tshibaka, a former Alaska state official backed by former President Donald Trump, were both asked by Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday about being snubbed by the Senate Leadership Fund, which is managed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Tshibaka is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who has held the seat since 2002, and Democrat Patricia Chesbro. McConnell has said he is supporting Murkowski. Bolduc, meanwhile, is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan.
“In our race it’s the power players of D.C. versus the people of Alaska,” Tshibaka told Bartiromo, adding, “I think you’re hearing that from the General [Bolduc] too. This might be the race across all of America. [Incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa] Murkowski is often the tie-breaking vote that just helps the establishment.”
“I want to get your take on the money part of this because we know that Mitch McConnell is holding the purse strings deciding which candidate he wants to back … has this hurt your campaign,” Bartiromo asked Bolduc.
“Those decisions are made outside of my purview and outside of my influence, and I would say, no, it has not, because what happened is, this is a grassroots campaign, and we have had record-breaking days in terms of fundraising,” Bolduc replied. “People want change, and it’s indicative of the fact that the establishment is not what people want. Whether it’s Republican or Democrat, does not matter.”
The Daily Wire adds:
Last week, CBS news reported that the Senate Leadership Fund pulled $5.6 million in television advertisements allocated to Bolduc in the final stretch of the campaign. Prior to that, the PAC spent a considerable amount on the race. The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced a $1 million ad buy financed with the campaign, a reversal of a previous decision to cancel spending in the Granite State, according to Axios.
Tshibaka doesn’t have the support of the Senate Leadership Fund, which has spent more than $5 million in attack ads supporting Murkowski’s effort to win her fourth full term in the Senate. According to FiveThirtyEight, Murkowski has voted in line with President Biden 67.3% of the time. Late last week, Tshibaka said that the “millions of dollars Mitch McConnell is spending on lies about me could be put to better use in other states where a Republican has a chance to beat a Democrat.”
All said, both GOP candidates are polling well. Bolduc’s race is considered a toss-up, while according to other polling, Murkowski is the first choice of Alaskans in the state’s ranked-choice voting system, but only by a small margin.