Sullivan Vows Murkowski Election Support Despite Trump Challenge
(Bloomberg) -- Alaskan GOP Senator Dan Sullivan said he’ll support colleague Lisa Murkowski’s re-election bid despite a vow by former President Donald Trump to campaign against her in 2022.
Murkowski, 63, was one of seven Republicans to join Democrats in a vote in February to convict Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors for his role in inciting a mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. A majority voted to convict but was short of the two-thirds threshold needed to uphold the impeachment.
Murkowski’s the only one of the seven who’ll face voters in 2022. In a statement issued March 6, Trump called her “the failed candidate from Alaska” and vowed to fly to the state to campaign against her in person next year.
“She represents her state badly and her country even worse,” Trump said. “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.”
Alaska’s Republican Party followed that March 16 by censuring Murkowski for her impeachment vote.
The moderate GOP senator’s tussles with Trump go back further, though. In June 2020, Trump said he’d support anyone with “a pulse” to run against Murkowski. “Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don’t care, I’m endorsing,” Trump tweeted.
Speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Sullivan cited Murkowski’s support for his own 2020 re-election campaign, as well as for his initial run for the Senate in 2014, and said he planned to return the favor.
“We don’t agree on everything but we make a good team for Alaska,” Sullivan said. “If Senator Murkowski runs again I am going to support her.”
Sullivan’s support in the face of Trump’s opposition reflects the way some Republicans are pushing back against the former president, even as his support remains strong with the party’s voters. Trump is also expected to back 2022 challenges against the 10 GOP House members who voted for his impeachment.
It also reflects Alaska’s peculiar political realities.
In any other state Trump’s opposition might be fatal to Murkowski, but voters there opted last year to change the state’s primary system in a move likely to help the incumbent.
Under the new open primary system, the top four vote getters from either party will move on to the general election. That’s seen as insulating Murkowski from any challenge instigated by Trump.
Murkowski was also re-elected in 2010 as a write-in candidate after losing that year’s Republican primary to a more conservative Republican.
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