Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski said on Friday that she was committed to remaining a Republican, calling liberal aspirations to change parties and give Democrats an edge in the evenly divided Senate “a dream of some who will not materialize ”.
Ms Murkowski, a scathing critic of former President Donald J. Trump who has indicated she was prepared to condemn him during his impeachment trial for his role in the mob violence that stormed the Capitol, had raised the question of whether she could the GOP when she told a national newspaper that she had doubts about her place in the party.
Days after the January 6 assault, she told the Anchorage Daily News that “if the Republican Party is just Trump’s party, I sincerely wonder if this party is right for me.
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Friday, Ms Murkowski expressed the same sentiment, but added that she had “absolutely no desire to go to the Democratic side of the aisle – I can’t be someone I am not.”
“As rambling as things are on the Republican side, you can’t convince me to go over to the other side,” she added. “It’s not who I am, it’s not who I’ll ever be.”
Ms Murkowski, who is due for re-election in 2022, has long been independent. She voted against Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, helped end Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and was one of the first in her party to recognize President Biden’s victory when ‘a majority of his colleagues refused to do so. .
On Friday, she confirmed that she had not voted for Mr. Trump, although she would not release the name of the person whose name she had written down instead. Even though she vowed to remain a Republican, Ms Murkowski admitted her party struggled to regroup around an identity in the wake of Mr Trump’s presidency.
“I think in many ways we are a party that is struggling to identify with,” Ms. Murkowski said. “We have some who have strongly identified with Trump, and will likely continue to identify for years to come. But you have a lot of other people who haven’t really been sold, but absolutely bought into the policies. “
Asked about the role she planned to play as the party struggled to recalibrate after losing control of the White House and Senate, she said she would remain a senator “ who is not afraid of ‘be in the middle, even though there aren’t many people there who are with me.