Alaska GOP Censures Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Pledges Support For Primary Challenge

Alaska GOP Censures Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Pledges Support For Primary Challenge

The Alaska Republican Party passed a resolution Saturday vowing to recruit a primary challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski and censured her in part for her recent vote to convict former President Donald Trump in the last Senate impeachment trial.

The resolution, highlighting Murkowski’s decision to support Trump’s conviction for the alleged “incitement” of the January Capitol riot, also castigated the Alaska senator for being on the opposite side of the Republican Party over a series of other issues, from abortion to transgender sports.

“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,” Kris Warren, who wrote the resolution and runs a local GOP group in Anchorage, told The Hill.

The resolution condemns Murkowski’s votes to oppose abortion restrictions, to preserve the Affordable Care Act, and to confirm President Joe Biden’s radical pick to lead the Department of the Interior, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland. Murkowski’s decision to vote “present” in the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, along with her opposition to an amendment on the Democrats’ recent coronavirus spending bill, which would have barred biological men from competing in women’s sports, was also held against her.

“The Party will hereby recruit a Republican primary challenger to oppose and prohibit Senator Murkowski from being a candidate in any Republican primary to the extent legally permissible,” the resolution reads.

Murkowski’s office did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.

While Murkowski, up for re-election in 2022, has yet to announce her decision to pursue a fourth full term, filings with the Federal Election Commission show the Alaska senator ended last year with more than $1 million in her campaign war chest.

Trump declared earlier this month he would actively campaign against Murkowski in any upcoming primary. “I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great State of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski,” Trump said in a statement to Politico. “She represents her state badly and her country even worse. I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be — in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad senator.”

Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin mused about running over Murkowski’s opposition to Kavanaugh in 2018, though it remains unclear whether the politician-turned-reality television celebrity will run.

“Hey @LisaMurkowski – I can see 2022 from my house…” Palin joked on Twitter on the day Murkowski announced the decision to vote “present” on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

A new ranked-choice voting system, approved by Alaska voters last fall, might protect Murkowski from a potentially well-financed primary challenger next year.

Murkowski is far from the only member of Congress to face home backlash for their support in Trump’s 2021 impeachment.

Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who spearheaded a futile effort in the lower chamber to rally GOP support for the Democrats’ impeachment, also faces a competitive primary challenge back home. A Trump-backed poll in January found Cheney deeply unpopular, with only 10 percent of GOP primary voters reporting a willingness to vote for their at-large representative in next year’s party contest, and only 13 percent said they would support the incumbent’s re-election in the general, pending survival in the primary.

South Carolina Republican Rep. Tom Rice was also censured by his home party following his vote to support the Democrats’ January article of impeachment.

Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
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