McConnell: No one is going to beat Murkowski in Alaska

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump McConnell says he'll be in 'total coordination' with White House on impeachment trial strategy MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday defended GOP Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump Potential Dem defectors face pressure on impeachment MORE (Alaska) amidst conservative backlash over her opposition to confirming Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Progressives hope to avoid drug-pricing showdown with Pelosi | 'Medicare for All' backers get high-profile hearing | Dems take victory lap after eliminating drug protections in trade deal Justices grapple with multibillion-dollar ObamaCare case Potential Dem defectors face pressure on impeachment 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 John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day 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 DainesBullock drops White House bid, won't run for Senate Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Perry replacement moves closer to confirmation despite questions on Ukraine 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.