Mat-Su Democrat files to challenge Murkowski

Patricia Chesbro, when she ran an unsuccessful campaign for state Senate in 2014. (Josh Edge/Alaska Public Media)


A Democrat has filed to run for U.S. Senate, challenging Lisa Murkowski.

Pat Chesbro is a retired Palmer High School teacher and principal. She submitted her paperwork to the Division of elections Wednesday.

She said Murkowski’s position on abortion is one of the reasons she decided to get in the race.

“I don’t know that we can count on her in the choice issue,” Chesbro said. “And you can count on me.”

RELATED: Murkowski helps block a bill to protect abortion rights, drawing scorn from Democrats

Chesbro is a member of the Democratic Party’s executive committee and chair of the Mat-Su Democrats.

She enters a race that is already well underway, with two well-funded candidates. Murkowski has raised more than $7.5 million for her reelection. Separately, a group of lobbyists and allies have formed an independent group working to help Murkowski win, and it’s raised more than $1 million.

State Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, was briefly a candidate in the race, but she bowed out in March, citing “the monumental expenses necessary to run a successful campaign.”

On the right, Murkowski faces Republican Kelly Tshibaka. Tshibaka opposes abortion rights and attacks Murkowski as a “RINO” — Republican in name only. Tshibaka has the support of the state Republican Party and the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. She has raised more than $2.5 million.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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