Republican Lisa Murkowski has an unlikely source of support
In Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski is facing a primary challenge from far-right MAGA Republican Kelly Tshibaka, who former President Donald Trump is supporting. Murkowski, conservative but not far-right, is often attacked as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) in Trump World. Yet among more traditional conservatives, she has a reputation for being someone who can get things done with Democrats — not unlike the late Sen. John McCain. And according to Politico reporter Burgess Everett, some of the people supporting Murkowski’s reelection campaign are Democrats and their allies.
“Jeanne Shaheen offered to campaign for her,” Everett explains in an article published by Politico on July 18. “Angus King directed money to her. And Mark Warner’s open to endorsing her whenever it helps most. No, she’s not a Democrat. She’s Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.”
Sen. Angus King of Maine, technically, isn’t a Democrat; he’s an independent. But the centrist senator often caucuses with Democrats, and he generally gets along with moderate Republicans as well — including Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins, Maine’s other senator.
Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii is one of the Democrats who is hoping that Murkowski wins her primary in Alaska. Schatz told Politico, “I don’t want to get Lisa in trouble.… Lisa is one of my very favorite Republicans, and if the Republican Party were comprised of center-right people like her, the country would be much better off. She’s a friend. And I think it would be a loss for Alaska if she were no longer serving in the Senate.”
Everett, however, notes that Schatz hasn’t officially endorsed Murkowski, as the Hawaii Democratic Party “calls for the expulsion of anybody who does that sort of thing,” according to Schatz.
Everett observes, “As Murkowski tries to fend off a challenge from Donald Trump-backed candidate Kelly Tshibaka, the centrist is appealing to a broad home-state coalition that contains many left-leaning Democrats and independents. Murkowski’s Senate Democratic fan club reflects the same crossover clout that helped her quash a Tea Party rival 12 years ago — and the fact that many conservatives will support Tshibaka anyway.”
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has vowed to do “whatever I can to help Lisa Murkowski.” And centrist Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who, like Manchin, has often butted heads with more progressive members of her party, is also voicing her support for Murkowski.
Sinema told Politico, “She’s an overall badass. The Senate needs more leaders like Lisa, and I’m proud to support her.”
If Murkowski defeats Tshibaka in the primary, she would be likely to perform well in the general election — as Alaska is a red state that Trump won in both 2016 and 2020.
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