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Alaska GOP vows all 'legally permissible' action to prevent Sen. Lisa Murkowski's re-election

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'The committee decided that they need to speak up early'

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Alaska Republican Party has censured Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for voting to convict former President Donald Trump in his second Senate trial in January.

Of the seven Republican senators who voted "guilty," many have faced censure from their state parties. But the Alaska GOP went further. Not only did the state party members censure Murkowski, but they vowed to actively campaign against her in 2022.

What are the details?

The Alaska GOP passed a censure resolution during a meeting in Anchorage over the weekend.

In a 53-17 vote, the Alaska GOP censured Murkowski not only for supporting Trump's second impeachment, but also for several past votes that have angered Republicans, the Associated Press reported. Also cited was Murkowski having "consistently opposed placing limits on abortion" and the fact that she supported Deb Haaland's nomination to become interior secretary

"The party does not want Lisa Murkowski to be a Republican candidate," Tuckerman Babcock, former chairman of the Alaska GOP, told the AP.

Babcock explained the censure resolution directed Alaska Republicans to do everything in their power to ensure Murkowski is not re-elected.

"It went further than censure, which was strong," Babcock said. "But it also directed the party officials to recruit an opponent in the election and to the extent legally permissible, prevent Lisa Murkowski from running as a Republican in any election."

The resolution states:

Resolved that under Alaska Republican Party Rules, Article 1, Section 4 (f) 4, the Party hereby will recruit a Republican primary challenger to oppose and prohibit Senator Murkowski from being a candidate in any Republican primary to the extent legally permissible.

"The committee decided that they need to speak up early in order to encourage a candidate to come forward," Babcock added.

Trump has declared that he will campaign against Murkowski.

Why did Murkowski vote to convict?

After voting "guilty," Murkowski released a lengthy statement explaining that she believed Trump was guilty of inciting the deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Later, when faced with the prospect of censure, Murkowski reiterated that her loyalty is to the U.S. Constitution — not Trump.

"They can make that statement. But I will make the statement, again, that my obligation is to support the Constitution that I have pledged to uphold, and I will do that, even if it means that I have to oppose the direction of my state party," Murkowski said last month.

Who might replace Murkowski?

Murkowski is up for re-election in 2022, but it's not yet clear if she will pursue another Senate term. However, several names have emerged as possible candidates for her seat.

Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, teased challenging Murkowski after she voted against Brett Kavanaugh in a procedural vote during Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation.

"Hey @LisaMurkowski — I can see 2022 from my house..." Palin tweeted in 2018.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) is also a potential challenger.

Surprisingly, Fox News host Laura Ingraham even voiced interest in running for Murkowski's seat after the senator's vote against Kavanaugh in 2018.

"I like Alaska...a lot. Maybe it's time to run for Senate after all. @lisamurkowski has abandoned all principles of due process and fairness. Disgraceful," Ingraham said at the time. "Embarrassing to Alaska and to any who believe in due process and the presumption of innocence."

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