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McConnell: No one is going to beat Murkowski in Alaska

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday defended GOP Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Senate GOP whip: Murkowski's vote on Tanden is 'fluid' at the moment MORE (Alaska) amidst conservative backlash over her opposition to confirming Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughJustices hear sparring over scope of safeguards for minority voters Supreme Court faces landmark challenge on voting rights Will 'Cover-up Cuomo' be marching to 'Jail to the Chief'? MORE to the Supreme Court, saying she “certainly” would recover.  

"Well, she's certainly going to recover. ... She's about as strong as you could possibly be in Alaska,” McConnell said during an Associated Press Newsmakers interview. “Nobody's gonna beat her. I'm proud she's in the Republican conference.”

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He added that Murkowski had backed Neil Gorsuch, President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE's first Supreme Court nominee, as well as dozens of circuit judges and is in “very good standing” in the Senate Republican Conference. 

McConnell's comments come after Trump criticized Murkowski during an interview with The Washington Post on Saturday, predicting she would “never recover” politically and that Alaska voters will “never forgive” her for her opposition to Kavanaugh.

Fox News host Sean Hannity has called for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) to make a “political comeback” and challenge Murkowski when she is up for reelection.

Palin herself pointed toward the year Murkowski will be up for reelection, tweeting last week, "I can see 2022 from my house."

Tuckerman Babcock, the chairman of Alaska Republican Party, told The Associated Press that the state GOP could reprimand the senator, issue a statement on her vote or even withdraw its support of her, which would include encouraging her not to run for reelection in 2022 as a Republican. 

Murkowski voted against advancing Kavanaugh's nomination during a procedural vote Friday and said she was opposed to his nomination in the final vote to confirm him on Saturday. 

She was recorded as "present" during the final vote, something she did as a courtesy to offset the absence of Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine Indigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland Kennedy apologizes for calling Haaland a 'whack job' MORE (R-Mont.), who supported Kavanaugh but was at his daughter's wedding back home in Montana.

Republican senators have publicly backed Murkowski in the wake of Trump's criticism. She also brushed off the potential political consequences, telling reporters on Tuesday that she was "good" with her vote. 

"I took the vote that I took. And I'm good with it and I'm moving forward. I think we all need to be, so I'm not going to dwell on the 'what ifs,' " Murkowski told reporters in the Senate basement on Tuesday evening.