Republican senators opted not to oust Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiLawmakers scold Trump official over Pacific island trust fund Republican agenda clouded by division Greens sue over Interior plans to build road through Alaska refuge MORE from a top committee post because they believe she has a shot at winning reelection, Murkowski said.

Murkowski, a GOP senator from Alaska who decided to pursue an independent write-in bid for reelection after losing her Republican Senate primary, said that her colleagues' decision to allow her to keep her position as ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee was an "affirmation."

Murkowski said Republican senators "recognize, 'You know what? Lisa might be a risk-taker, but she's got a real shot at coming back here, and it only makes good sense that we would not want to be so punitive that she would be discouraged by the actions of her colleagues,' " she said in a Q-and-A with Time magazine published Friday.

Murkowski's now in a three-way race for reelection, facing off against Republican Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams. She faces an uphill climb, though, because she failed to file in time for an independent bid, forcing her to wage a difficult write-in candidacy.

Murkowski's decision did lead Republicans to strip her of her leadership post as vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conferece, a spot filled this week by Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoLobbying World GOP chairman: Republicans' reactions 'mixed' on gas tax increase Overnight Regulation: Dems go on attack during EPA chief's hearing | Mnuchin promises more Russia sanctions | Regulators subpoena major bitcoin exchange | New lawsuit over FDA e-cig rule MORE (Wyo.). Republican leaders have also rallied behind Miller, the party's nominee.

Republicans' decision to keep her in the ranking-member position, Murkowski said, was a recognition of her standing in the conference.

"This was an affirmation of the relationship that I've built over the past eight years with the people that I work with," she said. "As difficult as the politics are, as awkward as the situation is, I had really believed that my friends would recognize that what I'm doing is for my state."