It’s been clear to Alaskans that Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin are allies in the Senate. Both are considered moderates in their respective parties, and both take criticism for being unreliable votes for their caucuses. Both voted “guilty” in the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in February, after Trump had left office.
The two are so allied that Sen. Manchin has now endorsed Murkowski for reelection even before she has announced and before any Democrat has declared his or her candidacy.
Manchin made his endorsement known to a Politico podcast on Friday.
Manchin doesn’t want Murkowski defeated by a Trump-endorsed Republican — or a Democrat, the news group reported. On the Politico Playbook Deep Dive podcast he said he supports Murkowski “in a heartbeat.”
“I’ve met a lot of good people in Alaska, they know when they’ve got the real deal. And they see the person that basically is bringing both sides together, trying to look for the best interest,” Manchin said of Murkowski in a rare joint interview. “People understand that they have a person that understands Alaska and has Alaska in her blood and in every part of her veins and every morsel of her body.”
“I would welcome his endorsement,” Murkowski said.
Politico reported that Manchin, who also endorsed Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins in her 2020 race, has had a close relationship with Murkowski dating back to when Manchin entered the Senate in 2010 and Murkowski, then the ranking Republican on the Energy Committee, visited Manchin in West Virginia. Murkowski hosted Manchin in Alaska in 2019.
Murkowski has a Republican challenger in Alaska born-and-raised Kelly Tshibaka, who left her job as commissioner of the Department of Administration to run against the sitting U.S. senator after the Alaska Republican Party voted to not only censure Murkowski, but find a candidate that it could back to take her out in 2022.