(Headline USA) Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would endorse Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy for reelection, but only if the governor doesn’t back U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski‘s bid to return to the Senate.
Trump praised Dunleavy for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his “pushback against the Liberal Biden Administration.” But Trump said he wouldn’t support Dunleavy if the governor supported one of the GOP’s most disloyal RINOs in her 2022 re-election campaign.
“In other words, if Mike endorses her, which is his prerogative, my endorsement of him is null and void, and of no further force or effect!” Trump said in a statement tweeted by his spokesperson Liz Harrington.
Trump has vowed to hold accountable Murkowski and other Republican lawmakers who supported his impeachment over the Jan. 6 protest at the US Capitol. He’s endorsed Murkowski’s primary challenger, Kelly Tshibaka.
Murkowski is the only Republican senator facing reelection next year who voted to convict Trump at his impeachment trial. She also called for Trump’s resignation afterward.
In addition to the Jan. 6 fallout, Murkowski undermined Trump’s agenda and broke rank with the party on several other occasions throughout his presidency. She notably was the only GOP senator to vote against confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh following bogus rape accusations that prompted a dramatic Senate hearing.
Despite falling routinely out of step with the GOP, Murkowski benefits from having something of a political dynasty to fall back on in the deep-red state.
She was first appointed by her own father, Frank Murkowski, to fill his vacant Senate seat after he won election to be the state’s governor.
After losing the GOP primary in 2010, she mounted a write-in campaign largely underwritten by labor unions and special-interest groups that defeated Republican candidate Joe Miller, despite serious questions about irregularities with the absentee ballots.
The race will be closely watched nationally as an indicator of Trump’s lasting influence with GOP voters after his 2020 election defeat and whether they are willing to punish lawmakers who they believe have been disloyal to the former president.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press