Clay and Buck

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Tshibaka Talks with Clay & Buck from Last Frontier’s Senate Race

10 Oct 2022

CLAY: Now we are in the stretch run, and Alaskans have a really interesting decision to make. And we’re joined now by Kelly Tshibaka, who is in the process of trying to take Lisa Murkowski out. Lisa Murkowski and her allies — and you can correct me on this if I’m wrong, Kelly, but they — basically have tried to put in place this ranked choice voting system because otherwise you would have trounced her in the Republican primary and you are rapidly gaining ground on her now in the election. And I know it’s a little bit complicated, but can you explain for everybody out there what’s going on with ranked choice, what you are campaigning on, and how people can help you beat Lisa Murkowski?

TSHIBAKA: Yes. First, off, I’m so glad to be with you. Thank you for having me. So you’re absolutely right. It was exposed in undercover videos that Murkowski and her campaign staff worked together to deceive Alaskans, telling us we would be getting rid of dark money in the state, and that’s how they ran a ballot measure to bring in ranked-choice voting. And in the undercover video, they said, “This is all so that Lisa Murkowski could get reelected,” because if she didn’t having ranked-choice voting in place, she would have lost the Senate seat decidedly.

And we don’t have a party primary anymore. In fact, Murkowski has been censured by the Republican Party and removed from membership. So in our primary, everybody was running against everybody. We had 19 candidates on the ballot for U.S. Senate. The four candidates who got the most votes regardless of party — it could have been four Republicans — all make it to the general election. In fact, we have three Republicans and the Democrat. The fourth Republican on the ballot, he canceled his bid and he said he’s thrown his hat in with me and he wants to see me win.

So, it’s me and Murkowski who calls herself a Republican still, and the Democrat who only got 6% of the vote in the primary. Most of the Democrats lined up behind Murkowski. So, in the general election, what happens is voters get a choice of ranking their candidates one, two, three and four. The person who comes in fourth, if somebody doesn’t cross 50% on round one, the fourth person drops off their second; third and fourth place votes get reallocated. The third person drops off; second, third and fourth place votes get reallocated. And then whoever has the most votes wins.

So, despite the fact that I’m leading Murkowski by double digits right now; when the Democrat votes get reallocated, multiple polls a couple of weeks ago showed Murkowski and I were tied 50-50. But there’s an article out today in national news that shows that I’m now at 53%, and so it looks like we’re gaining some ground, which is great. And we’re just going to continue to move forward like that until November 8th. And I think the way we’re doing that is, we’ve knocked on thousands of doors. I’ve knocked on 1500 doors. My husband and kids have knocked on hundreds more on top of that. Our team has knocked on 25,000.

I’ve been in, you know, Bethel and Kotzebue in the Aleutians, and our rural communities. And then many of the, you know, communities without roads here in Alaska just this week. And that’s how we’re going to move the needle forward and that’s how we’re going to win. I’m really confident that that’s the path forward from here.

CLAY: Kelly, to help people understand this ranked choice, if they’re listening to us right now — they are in Alaska; they love you and they want you to be the senator — should they only put your name on the ballot as a first choice so there is no second, third or fourth? From a game theory perspective, what’s the best way for your diehard supporters to vote?

TSHIBAKA: Well, the real answer is it doesn’t matter from a math perspective or game theory. So what we found in explaining it to voters is rank choice is so confusing, sometimes as simple as just to say, “Put Kelly Tshibaka number one,” that because my ballot will never drop off, it really doesn’t matter if you rank me or not. So honestly, you’re just spending more time in the ballot box. And when I tell it to them like that, they’re like, “Oh, well, then I’m just gonna put Kelly Tshibaka number one.” Exactly. It only matters if you’re going to vote for the third or fourth place candidate because their ballots are going to drop off. That’s when your second choice candidate matters. But since we know my ballots aren’t dropping off, it doesn’t matter. So, I would recommend Kelly Tshibaka, number one and keep moving just to save herself some time. But if you want to rank, you can; it really doesn’t matter.

BUCK: So, Kelly, whose idea was this? I mean, we’re sitting here —

TSHIBAKA: (chuckles)

BUCK: — there’s enough election complexity and people are busy and, I mean, ranked choice voting. It just it feels like it’s rigged for the benefit of the people who — for whatever reason — in this state think that they’ll benefit. From it.

TSHIBAKA: Well, you’re absolutely right. And that’s what was exposed in the undercover video is it was all the brainchild of Murkowski’s campaign team because they knew she wouldn’t get reelected without this. She doesn’t have a chance without this. She’d already be gone. Her career would have been over in the primary. This way she has some kind of a fighting chance. But really, Alaskans get to decide this year whether they want to have a senator who stands with Alaska, who’s going to fight for our Alaskan families and the workers who are being crushed by inflation and our economy that’s been just absolutely devastated by Biden’s policies?

Or are we going to vote for the senator has been standing with Joe Biden and his radical environmentalists that she’s confirmed sometimes by tiebreaking votes, and the dark money special interests funding her campaign? When you put together the millions and millions and millions of dollars in her campaign and her PAC — that’s, quote, “Alaskans for Lisa,” none of whom are Alaskan — and the Senate leadership funds, you know, the D.C. insiders in the swamp coming in here flooding our state with money. Less than 1 million of it is actually from Alaska. And I think if you add that all up together, it’s like close to $20 million.

BUCK: I know you guys have grizzlies up in Alaska. Apparently, you also have at least one RINO.

TSHIBAKA: (chuckles)

BUCK: So we need to focus on this situation. And I want to ask you, because your state is so… Energy is such a big part of Alaska, and the Biden administration has got an energy policy as wrong as pretty much anything else, which is saying a lot. What would you like to see done? I mean, how could better federal policy on the energy sector help Alaskans — and, with it, the whole country.

TSHIBAKA: Oh, it’s super simple. We were energy independent — and I would say dominant — two years ago, and they’ve completely shut us down just like what the Lower 48 understands about the Keystone XL pipeline. They’ve done that all over the place in Alaska. The problem for us is it’s all being made at the decision of Deb Haaland, the interior secretary. She has single handedly shut down ANWR, shut down the future of NPRA, shut down the Cook Inlet oil and gas leases, killed the route to Ambler Mine, taken back our navigable water rights. I could go on.

Deb Haaland is only in place because of a single tie breaking vote from Lisa Murkowski to move her out of committee. Now, Murkowski will lie and say, “Oh, it was going to happen anyway.” The confirmation process means she could have been ejected from committee by a vote of the Democrats, but Murkowski single handedly blocked the deputy nominee for interior secretary. She said, “This woman is not getting through committee; I block her,” and Biden listened. So, she could have done the same for Deb Haaland and she didn’t. And now all of Alaska and America is paying the price. We could be energy independent again if you just reverse the policies in Alaska. Alaska has enough oil and gas to power the entire United States, and our workers and our families are paying the price because our senator made the tie-breaking vote.

CLAY: Kelly, I read this in the Wall Street Journal, and I couldn’t believe it, and it disgusted me. And I bet it disgusts you and I bet it disgusts a lot of Alaskans as well. Mitch McConnell is spending millions of dollars against you, an actual Republican on behalf of Lisa Murkowski. While there are many Republicans out there in extremely competitive races that could use those millions of dollars to actually beat Democrats. Is that accurate and how much does that disgust you?

TSHIBAKA: That is accurate (laughing) and, you know, I’ve been fighting the D.C. establishment for a really long time, so it makes a lot of sense to me that they don’t want me there, an Alaskan who won’t be bullied or bought by Washington, D.C. But the key point about all this that I think is fascinating is these ads are complete slander. There’s nothing that I’ve seen more of a lie. You know, there’s a lot of exaggerating and, you know, false things that happen during campaign season. These things are an absolute lie.

So like one of them, for example, is talking about how I “likely committed fraud with my hours reporting.” Okay, I have an exoneration memo from the adjudication official. I’ll read it to you. It’s the National Reconnaissance Office Office of Inspector General Report on False Claims of Time and Attendance, signed by the Director of National Intelligence Chief Management Officer. “As a result of my review of the reference document and all your input, I consider the matter related to allegations of time and attendance at fraud and abuse to be closed.”

Because what happened is these insiders I was investigating, they decided to look into this matter and they only looked into the one side — you know, the allegations. They refused to look at any of my evidence that I worked the hours. When I presented the evidence to the adjudication official, he said, “This issue is closed,” and on the other issue about my move, I documented all the breach of the contract and I referred him to the attorney general. But of course, Mitch McConnell’s not telling that in the ad — and the dirt of this all is Lisa Murkowski’s PAC has donated to this to these ads.

She put all her money into the Senate Leadership Fund right before these ads are run. So the slander of this is pretty bad. So that’s why we’re talking with lawyers right now about our legal recourse and what we can do, because it’s really bad when a senator from Kentucky is trying to tell all of us Alaskans who our senator is going, when the Alaska Republican Party has already censured her and removed her from membership and said she’s not the Republican of choice in Alaska.

BUCK: Kelly Tshibaka, everybody. Kelly, where should people go to donate, to help out, to make sure that you are the next senator for the state of Alaska?

TSHIBAKA: Well, thank you, Alaska, for helping, because we’re still majority funded by Alaskans. You can help us at KellyForAK.com — K-E-L-L-Y-F-O-R-A-K.com, and anyone in America wants to help to KellyForAK.com. We’ve got to push back on the swamp and get someone in there who won’t be bullied, silenced and bought by D.C. Appreciate your help and thanks for your time.

BUCK: Of course. Good luck to you. Thank you. Thanks, my friend.

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