McConnell, at odds with Trump, says ‘nobody’s going to beat’ Murkowski in Alaska


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) remains unbeatable in her home state despite her opposition to Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination — a view at odds with President Trump.

“She’s about as strong as you can possibly be in Alaska. Nobody’s going to beat her,” McConnell told the Associated Press as part of a wide-ranging interview.

Murkowski, whose seat is on the ballot in 2022, last week voted against advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination and voted “present” on the final confirmation vote, calling Trump’s nominee “a good man” but “not the right man for the court at this time.”

That prompted Trump to predict that Murkowski — the only GOP senator to oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination — would go down in defeat if she runs for reelection.

In a brief telephone interview Saturday with The Washington Post, Trump said voters in Alaska “will never forgive” Murkowski.

“I think she will never recover from this,” he said. “I think the people from Alaska will never forgive her for what she did.”

“She’s certainly going to recover,” McConnell told the AP, pointing to Murkowski’s resilience in her 2010 election.

In that race, Murkowski was defeated in the Republican primary by Joe Miller, a tea party candidate backed by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R). But Murkowski prevailed in the general election as a write-in candidate, becoming the first U.S. senator to do so in more than 50 years.

Kavanaugh’s nomination was roiled late in the process by the emergence of three women who accused him of decades-old sexual misconduct.

Palin suggested last week that she might mount a Republican primary challenge against Murkowski in 2022.

“I can see 2022 from my house,” Palin tweeted Friday.

That was a play on words from a 2008 “Saturday Night Live” sketch in which actress Tina Fey, playing Palin, said, “I can see Russia from my house.”

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