State Watch

Alaska GOP censures, vows primary challenge to Murkowski

The Alaska Republican Party has vowed to recruit a primary challenger against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), a month after she voted to convict former President Trump of inciting an insurrection at the United States Capitol.

In a vote Saturday, the state Republican Party passed a resolution censuring Murkowski for her vote, and for several previous votes she had cast that angered state Republicans.

“There’s a number of issues that the party has had with Sen. Murkowski for the last several years which really culminated in the conviction vote of former President Trump,” said Kris Warren, the author of the resolution and head of a local Republican Party group in Anchorage. 

Warren said he was upset with Murkowski over past votes to preserve the Affordable Care Act and against an amendment to the most recent coronavirus relief package that would have banned trans women from competing in sports. He took issue with her decision to vote present on the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and her support for Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), President Biden’s choice to lead the Interior Department. 

But the resolution focused most on Murkowski’s relationship with the former president.

“She’s repeatedly spoken out against President Trump over the years in spite of all the great accomplishments he had that helped the country and certainly helped Alaska,” Warren said.

Murkowski’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. She has not said whether she will seek a fourth full term, though her campaign account had $1 million in the bank at the end of 2020.

Warren declined to speculate on potential challengers who might take on the three-term Republican, who took office in 2002 to succeed her father after he became governor. Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has issued vague threats about running herself, though she is not seen as a likely candidate a dozen years after she left the governor’s mansion in the middle of her first term.

Murkowski won reelection with 44 percent of the vote in 2016, against Libertarian candidate Joe Miller, who pulled 29 percent of the vote.

In 2010, Murkowski lost the Republican primary for renomination to Miller, but she stormed to a second term as a write-in candidate — only the second write-in candidate ever elected to a U.S. Senate seat.

Tags Alaska Brett Kavanaugh Deb Haaland Donald Trump Donald Trump Impeachment Joe Biden Lisa Murkowski

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