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Murkowski seeking Republican leadership post

Alaska Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiSenators move to protect 'Dreamers' Speaker’s office: No energy bill this year Passing US-Canada preclearance would improve security and economy MORE is seeking the vice chairmanship of the Senate Republican Conference, as a GOP leadership shuffle continues in the wake of Sen. John Ensign’s (R-Nev.) admission of an extramarital affair.

Murkowski began making calls to fellow GOP senators last week about her intent to replace Sen. John ThuneJohn ThuneOvernight Tech: Last-ditch effort to get Dem FCC commish confirmed | Facebook's Sandberg on fake news | Microsoft completes LinkedIn deal FCC chairman willing to resign to get colleague confirmed Overnight Tech: AT&T, Time Warner CEOs defend merger before Congress | More tech execs join Trump team | Republican details path to undoing net neutrality MORE (R-S.D.) in the position. Thune last week told The Hill he is seeking the position of GOP Policy chairman, which Ensign has resigned. Murkowski also sent around a letter within the Republican Conference on Friday, said spokesman Michael Brumas.

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"I have been participating and giving my input and thinking down the road about the prospect of coming on in an elected capacity," Murkowski told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner last week. "I did not anticipate there would be an opening until the next Congress … I do feel I have something to offer, a moderating voice in our conference, which is good."

Republicans will vote on the leadership positions this week. The conference vice chairmanship is considered the No. 5 position among Senate Republicans.

Brumas said Murkowski also intends to retain her ranking-member position on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a pivotal position given the importance of Alaska’s oil and gas industry.

The 52-year-old daughter of former Alaska Gov. and U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski was appointed to fulfill her father’s Senate seat in 2002 and subsequently won her first full term in 2004. She is the only woman ever elected to Congress by Alaskan voters.

GOP Sen. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoGOP eyes big gamble on ObamaCare Reid defends relationship with McConnell in farewell speech Overnight Energy: Trump taps EPA foe to head agency | Energy reform bill officially dead MORE (Wyo.) was also interested in the vice chairmanship, but won’t challenge Murkowski for the position, according to Barrasso spokesman Gregory Keeley.

“Sen. Barrasso has a great deal of respect for Sen. Murkowski and believes she would be a strong vice chair,” Keeley said. “I understand that he won’t challenge [her] for the vice chair position if she runs.”

Sens. Richard BurrRichard BurrTop Intel Dem: Congress 'far from consensus' on encryption Trump must be an advocate for the Small Business Administration Dems pledge to fight Sessions nomination MORE (R-N.C.) and Bob CorkerBob CorkerCorker calls Tillerson 'very impressive' Trump picks Exxon CEO Tillerson for secretary of State: report Senate passes dozens of bills on way out of town MORE (R-Tenn.) are also considering running for the vice chairmanship, according to Senate Republican sources.