Sen. Murkowski Doesn’t Rule Out Leaving Republican Party

News & Politics

On Sunday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) hinted at the possibility of parting ways with the Republican Party due to its alignment with former President Trump.

In an interview on “Inside Politics Sunday with Manu Raju,” she expressed her dissatisfaction, stating, “I wish that as Republicans, we had a nominee that I could get behind. I certainly can’t get behind Donald Trump.”

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The Hill has more:

When asked if she is considering an independent run, the Alaska lawmaker kept her cards close to her chest, telling Raju, “Oh, I think I’m very independent minded. I just regret that our party is seemingly becoming a party of Trump.”

Pressed further if she is “officially” considering and open to an independent bid, she said, “I am navigating my way through some very interesting political times so let’s just leave it at that.”

It comes after the Alaska Republican said earlier this month that she “could not” vote for either Trump or President Biden, who are their respective parties’ presumptive nominees.

[…]

When asked by Raju about Trump’s description of imprisoned Jan. 6 rioters are “hostages,” Murkowski said, “What happened on Jan. 6, was an effort by people who stormed the building in an effort to stop an election.”

It’s debatable that Murkowski is much of a Republican anyway. According to Heritage Action for America, she has a 9% conservative ranking this session and a 32% lifetime score. Murkowski endorsed Nikki Haley in the Republican presidential primaries, has been a frequent critic of Donald Trump, and voted to convict Trump in his 2021 impeachment. She also voted against confirming Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018, though she did support the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett is 2020. She also voted to confirm Joe Biden’s radical nominee for the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson, despite her radical views on critical race theory and her support for child sex offenders. 

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Murkowski managed to get reelected in 2022 thanks the bizarre ranked-choice voting system in the state.  

“It’s clear from the ranked choice tabulations that Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been re-elected, and I congratulate her on that,” her Trump-endorsed Republican opponent Kelly Tshibaka said at the time. “The new election system has been frustrating to many Alaskans, because it was indisputably designed as an incumbent-protection program, and it clearly worked as intended.”

She won’t be up for reelection until 2028, but the fate of ranked-choice voting in Alaska will be decided in November, as a repeal is set to appear on the ballot. 

Murkowski’s pseudo-threat to leave the GOP comes after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) announced that he will not support any judicial nominees who don’t have at least one Republican vote. In 2022, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), defected from the Democratic Party and registered as an independent. She announced earlier this month that she will not seek reelection.

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