(AP) — Alaska Republican Party
leaders endorsed a challenger to incumbent U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski
on Saturday, who has been one of the GOP
's most outspoken critics of former President Donald Trump
, according to the Anchorage Daily News
The Alaska Republican State Central Committee endorsed Kelly Tshibaka for the U.S. Senate
seat currently held by Murkowski in a 58-17 vote at a meeting in Fairbanks, according to the newspaper.
Tshibaka said in a statement that she will uphold conservative ideals and be a senator on whom Alaskans can rely to make every decision in the best interests of our great state.
Tshibaka, the former head of the Alaska Department of Administration, announced on March 29 that she would run for Murkowski's Senate seat, which she has held since 2002.
On March 13, the Republican State Central Committee voted 53-17 to censure Murkowski, citing her
vote to impeach Trump and other votes
that defied GOP leadership. Alaska Republican Party leaders said at the time
that they would find someone to run against her.
Tshibaka has received Trump's endorsement. "Lisa Murkowski is bad for Alaska," Trump said last month in a statement. "Murkowski has got to go!"
Murkowski told the Daily News in a statement that she has fought for Alaskan values in the Senate and will continue to do so.
will decide who represents them in Washington
, and I work
hard every day to earn their support,” Murkowski stated.