Two changes to Alaska election law enacted via referendum in November 2020 will make it easier for Murkowski to keep her seat in 2022. First, Alaska got rid of partisan primaries and established an open primary in which the top four primary candidates will compete in the general election. Second, in the general election, there will be ranked-choice voting. Ballotpedia has the details:
“A candidate needs a simple majority of the vote (50%+1) to be declared the winner of an election. If no candidate wins a simple majority of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. People who voted for that candidate as their first choice would have their votes redistributed to their second choice. The tabulation process would continue as rounds until there are two candidates remaining, and the candidate with the greatest number of votes would be declared the winner.”
Add it all up, and at the moment it’s hard to see Murkowski losing in 2022. In 2016, she won 44.5 percent of the vote, and Joe Miller (running that year on the Libertarian ticket) came in second with 29.2 percent of the vote. An independent came in third with 13.3 percent and the Democrat came in fourth with 11.6 percent.