She has played a key role in negotiating several bipartisan compromises, including the $1 trillion infrastructure law, which she highlighted in several appearances across her state. Ms. Murkowski, one of just two Senate Republicans who support abortion rights, has expressed support for codifying abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and openly expressed her dismay over the decision.
Ms. Tshibaka had sought to capitalize on conservative wrath against Ms. Murkowski, who retained the backing of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, and his allies. But the use of ranked-choice voting, as well as an open primary system that sent the top four candidates regardless of party through to the general election, was championed by some of her allies in part to help centrist candidates like Ms. Murkowski.
She secured more than 50 percent of the vote, as required under the new election law, in part because Democrats and others who voted for Ms. Chesbro ranked Ms. Murkowski second on their ballots. Out of the supporters who chose Ms. Chesbro first, more than 20,500 ranked Ms. Murkowski while just over 2,200 chose Ms. Tshibaka.
State law allows absentee ballots to be counted up to 15 days after Election Day if postmarked by then and sent from outside the United States. Election officials decided to wait to tabulate rounds of ranked-choice voting until all ballots were counted.
Because none of the candidates appeared to have secured more than 50 percent of the votes by Nov. 23 — 15 days after Election Day — Alaskan election officials tabulated the next round of votes once all ballots were counted.
Ms. Murkowski has beaten back conservative challengers before with the support of Democrats, centrists and Alaska Native voters, including in 2010, when she won a write-in campaign. But in interviews, she has acknowledged that this campaign carried a different significance, as more centrists have been driven out by the extremes of her party.
With Republican votes needed to push any legislation over the 60-vote filibuster threshold through the regular legislative process, Democrats are likely to turn to Ms. Murkowski as a negotiating partner for must-pass spending legislation and bills needed to raise the cap on the nation’s borrowing limit under an era of divided government come January.