President Donald Trump on Saturday announced that he will campaign against Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in the 2022 midterm election.
Murkowski often opposed Trump’s agenda during his presidency and trashed him in the aftermath of the Capitol incursion.
“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” she said in a Jan. 8 interview with the Anchorage Daily News.
Trump said he now wants Murkowski out.
“I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great State of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski. 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,” Trump said in a statement to The Hill and other outlets.
“Her vote to advance radical left Democrat Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior is yet another example of Murkowski not standing up for Alaska,” he said, referencing Murkowski’s vote to back the former New Mexico congresswoman as a member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet.
On Saturday, Trump’s team released a poll comparing his support among Alaskans with the senator’s. Conducted between Jan. 30 and Feb. 1, the McLaughlin and Associates poll gave Trump a 52 percent favorability rating against 43 percent for Murkowski, according to Politico.
Trump had said in 2018, after Murkowski did not support confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, that Murkowski would not be re-elected if she were to run in 2022, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
“I think she will never recover from this,” he said. “I think the people from Alaska will never forgive her for what she did.”
At the time, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, then the majority leader, said that was wishful thinking.
“She’s about as strong as you can possibly be in Alaska. Nobody’s going to beat her,” McConnell said.
But after Murkowski’s stand on Kavanaugh, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin teased a 2022 run.
“I can see 2022 from my house,” Palin tweeted in October 2018.
Hey @LisaMurkowski – I can see 2022 from my house…
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) October 5, 2018
Alaska Commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka’s name also has been bandied about as a possible candidate against Murkowski, according to MustReadAlaska.
Alaska | Dan Fagan: Alaska could stand to upgrade Senate seat in 2022 with Kelly Tshibaka https://t.co/u8qPc5Rn40
— Tracey Otto (@TraceyinAK) March 4, 2021
Murkowski had unleashed a broadside against Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion.
“I think he should leave,” the senator said. “He said he’s not going to show up. He’s not going to appear at the inauguration. He hasn’t been focused on what is going on with COVID. He’s either been golfing or he’s been inside the Oval Office fuming and throwing every single person who has been loyal and faithful to him under the bus, starting with the vice president.
“He doesn’t want to stay there. He only wants to stay there for the title. He only wants to stay there for his ego. He needs to get out. He needs to do the good thing, but I don’t think he’s capable of doing a good thing.”
She later was among the seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump on the Democratic article of impeachment that accused him of inciting an insurrection.
“I have reached the conclusion that President Trump’s actions were an impeachable offense and his course of conduct amounts to incitement of insurrection as set out in the Article of Impeachment,” Murkowski said in a statement Feb. 14.
“President Trump did everything in his power to stay in power,” she said in her statement, claiming Trump’s speech that day “was intended to stoke passions in a crowd that the President had been rallying for months. They were prepared to march on the Capitol and he gave them explicit instructions to do so.”
In response to her vote, several local Republican groups censured Murkowski, according to MustReadAlaska.
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