It’s hard to imagine anything better for Murkowski’s chances of winning a fifth term than “Senate candidate Sarah Palin”.
A Palin candidacy would immediately make her the most prominent Republican candidate along with Murkowski. And it would be very difficult for Kelly Tshibaka, a former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, who is already in the race – and has the backing of former President Donald Trump – to place in the top two with Murkowski.
Even if Tshibaka – likely backed by this endorsement from Trump – remains competitive with Palin (or even gets more votes), it’s possible the two will part ways with the anti-Murkowski vote. This split could well allow a Democrat – possibly Al Gross, who ran and lost for the Senate in 2020 – to slip into the general election against Murkowski.
All of this would likely lead to one of two possible clashes next fall:
1) Murkowski vs. Palin: While there is no doubt that the former governor and 2008 vice-presidential candidate still has some riding among the most conservative of Republicans, there is also a large chunk of Alaskan voters who would not vote Palin under any circumstances. Never. This includes many Republicans, not to mention virtually all Democrats and a large portion of Independents. It’s hard to imagine Murkowski losing this race.
All that to say this: If Palin ran, Murkowski’s chances of being re-elected would diminish. way at the top.
Now, because Palin is Palin, she almost certainly won’t show up. It is much easier to be some sort of celebrity than it is to endure the rigors of a serious statewide campaign. That’s why she never ran for another post after her run for vice-president failed alongside the late Senator John McCain over a decade ago.
So there’s a good chance Palin is just talking, with no real plan to execute. But if you are Lisa Murkowski, then absolutely everything should be done to make Palin more interested in racing. Because it would make your own race a lot easier.