A handful of Republican lawmakers backed the second effort to impeach former President Donald Trump — and many are already starting to pay the political price.
For U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who voted to convict Trump earlier this year, a nearly 20-year career on Capitol Hill could soon be coming to a close because of a challenger from within her own party.
Bad news for the incumbent
Recent polling shows that former Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka has jumped to a huge lead among GOP primary voters.
The report likely comes as good news to Trump, who has vowed to support any Republican rival who can defeat Murkowski.
According to the latest Sygnal poll, which included a survey of 500 likely primary voters with a 4.37% margin of error, Tshibaka appears to be the type of candidate the former president hopes will emerge.
The race is shaping up as a five-way competition for the state’s ranked-choice all-parties primary system. Tshibaka led the field with 33.6% support — nearly 15 points higher than Murkowski’s 18.8%.
A pair of Democratic challengers received 17.6% and 3.3% and an independent had 5.7% support with 21.1% still undecided.
“Disloyal and very bad”
The same poll revealed that Murkowski’s favorable rating has plunged to 33% with an unfavorable rating of 63%. Among Republican voters, the results are even starker: 10% favorability compared to an 87% unfavorable rating.
Among the reasons cited by voters giving her poor marks were her 20-year career in D.C., a vote to allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S., a vote against confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, her ranking as the second-most liberal Republican senator, and the aforementioned vote to convict Trump.
Meanwhile, Tshibaka enjoys a favorable rating that hovers around 60% from conservative Republicans and Trump supporters, in large part because of her prior administrative experience and deep ties to the state.
“Lisa Murkowski is in as weak a position as an incumbent could possibly find themselves in,” wrote Brock McCleary, vice president of polling at Cygnal. “A strong Republican candidate is poised to defeat Murkowski. Kelly Tshibaka is that candidate.”
Trump has made his opinion on Murkowski’s job performance clear, as he reiterated in a statement last month, declaring: “I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great State of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski. She represents her state badly and her country even worse. I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be — in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad Senator.”