The Alaska Republican Party State Central Committee voted to censure Sen. Lisa Murkowski during its quarterly meeting in Anchorage on Saturday.
The vote was 77 percent in favor of the censure resolution, which was offered by House District 23 Chairman Kris Warren.
Over 17 district Republican groups in Alaska had voted separately to censure Murkowski during the weeks following the historic second impeachment of President Donald J. Trump. A survey being conducted by activists had over 400 supporters in less than 72 hours in support of the motion.
Over a dozen party officers spoke in favor or, to a lesser degree, against the resolution, which was an inventory of some of Murkowski’s most egregious actions, including when Murkowski asked for the resignation of President Trump in January, following the protest that overtook the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Trump supporters were objecting to the certification of the Electoral College and surged into the Capitol.
Judy Eledge, chair of the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club, spoke to the group, saying the Alaska Republican Party is “like the battered woman. She [Murkowski] beats the devil out of us. We just say it’s ok, it was not your fault, it was my fault.”
Michael Tavoliero of District 14 said, “What we have seen her do in three terms has done more damage to the State of Alaska, and it’s time to send her a message. This is the moment of truth.”
Barbara Haney of North Pole said Republicans in her district are more angry at Sen. Murkowski now than they were after she lost the primary to Joe Miller, and went on to run a write-in campaign to retain her seat.
Many who spoke recognized that a censure would lead to more division in the party. One officer said it would be better to take all the points from the resolution and present them to the senator.
“What we’re about to do, in my opinion, is destabilizing to the state of the party,” she said. “Never make Democrats smile.”
Another speaking against the motion said that the move would split Republicans in her district, many of whom tolerate Murkowski.
But William Deaton of Cordova said that although he sees the party as a “big tent party,” and could live with many of Murkowski’s wayward decisions, when it came to impeaching Trump, that was a bridge too far.
“She voted to impeach a private citizen,” he pointed out. His remarks received robust applause.
The resolution states that the party “separates itself from the conviction vote” that Murkowski cast. And it further resolves to find a candidate to oppose her in the coming election cycle. Murkowski is up for election in 2022.
Also, she is prohibited from being a Republican candidate to “the extent allowed by law,” according to the resolution.
The party has has an uneasy relationship with Murkowski, but the senior senator has won her elections by appealing to centrists and the big batch of “undeclared” and “nonpartisan” voters in Alaska, which comprises the majority of Alaska voters.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is said to be preparing a resolution or statement in support of Murkowski, which is expected to be released Monday or Tuesday. The head of that organization is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, an ally of Murkowski.
The resolution, as voted on: