She’s never held political office before, but she has held some high level positions in the U.S. Army, including work in the Pentagon. Now, Margaret Stock is challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski for a ticket back to Washington D.C.

Stock is a self-proclaimed “party crasher.” The former Republican, now turned Independent, promises to cut through the U.S. Senate gridlock — she wants to take down Murkowski’s 14-year tenure in Congress. But for most Alaskans, she’s not a familiar face.

“I’m not a career politician, that’s very attractive to people,” Stock said of herself.

But Stock has gotten plenty of national recognition — in 2013 she was dubbed a genius by the MacArthur Foundation as a MacArthur Fellow, the only lawyer in Alaska ever to receive such an honor. As a teen, she went from being homeless to Harvard.

“I had absolutely no money to pay for Harvard when I applied there, but I was admitted and they worked it out so that I could get grants, loans, work study,” Stock said.

Now, Stock’s an immigration lawyer with a history in the military and experience in the Pentagon. She wants to work with someone other than Donald Trump in the White House.

“I don’t agree with his positions on the vast majority of issues, so I couldn’t be a Republican anymore,” Stock said.

She may not be a Republican anymore, but now the Alaska Democratic Party is supporting her over their own candidate, Ray Metcalfe.

“The Democrats don’t have a viable candidate, so it’s natural that they’ll come to my campaign cuz they think I’m a strong candidate,” Stock said of the support.

As an Independent, Stock says being party-free will make her pressure-free.

“I won’t have that terrible partisan pressure to change your principled position and that’s what, Lisa’s been victimized by that,” Stock explained. “An example is the Supreme Court nomination.”

If elected, Stock says she’d look for support from other Independents, like Sen. Bernie Sanders.

But are Alaskans willing to give up traditional party support? Stock faces a crowded race with several household names on the ballot. Other contenders against Murkowski include Joe Miller, who is running as a Libertarian; Democratic candidate Ray Metcalfe; and write-in candidates Paul Kendall, Sidney Hill, Rob Mulford and Jed Whittaker.

“Behind the Ballot: Inside Alaska’s Congressional races,” is a weeklong series airing on KTVA. The goal is to introduce the candidates who will appear on the Nov. 8 election ballot.

KTVA 11’s Liz Raines can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

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