In The Hill, a political news website, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski carried the lead message from liberal Republicans who think the party may be getting too extreme for their tastes. It was a signal that she is disenchanted with the direction Republicans are taking.
“GOP senators are saying they’re being increasingly confronted by constituents who buy into discredited conspiracy theories such as the claim that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election or that federal agents incited the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol,” the newspaper wrote on Tuesday. Then it quoted Murkowski:
“We should be concerned about this as Republicans. I’m having more ‘rational Republicans’ coming up to me and saying, ‘I just don’t know how long I can stay in this party,’” Murkowski said. “Now our party is becoming known as a group of kind of extremist, populist over-the-top [people] where no one is taking us seriously anymore.”
She was addressing the opportunity that Republicans have for taking back the White House. And she hinted that she was disenchanted with her political party.
“You have people who felt some allegiance to the party that are now really questioning, ‘Why am I [in the party?]” Murkowski told The Hill reporter Alexander Bolton. “I think it’s going to get even more interesting as we move closer to the elections and we start going through some of these primary debates.
“Is it going to be a situation of who can be more outlandish than the other?” she asked, rhetorically. If she had anything nice to say about Republicans, the reporter did not take notice.
Murkowski was elected with a moderate and liberal Democrat voter in Alaska. Although she was able to avoid a Republican primary because her surrogates had pushed open primaries through with Ballot Measure 2, her challenger Kelly Tshibaka did surprisingly well. If not for ranked choice voting, also brought by her people, and the transfer of Democrat Patricia Chesbro’s voters to Murkowski under that system, it would have been a tight race. Tshibaka is a conservative Republican who came within striking distance of unseating one of the most senior Republican members of the Senate.
By criticizing those voters as fringe, Murkowski just took a swipe at 46% of Alaska voters who chose Tshibaka and who are not part of the Republicans Murkowski sees as “rational.”
Murkowski also endorsed a Democrat for the U.S. House — Rep. Mary Peltola, in 2022, helping her to victory by giving Republicans “permission” to support a Democrat, since Murkowski did.