After an unbelievably contentious nomination process, the United States Senate voted to put Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the highest court in the land this past weekend. Ever since the vote, political analysts and commentators alike have been focused on the votes of four senators, Lisa Murkowski, Republican – Alaska; Susan Collins, Republican – Maine; Jeff Flake, Republican – Arizona; and Joe Manchin, Democrat – West Virginia.
Murkowski was the only one who didn’t vote in the affirmative for Kavanaugh. And, she likely won’t hear the end of it in the near future.
After being the only Republican to vote “no” in a procedural vote to end debate and proceed to move forward on whether to approve Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court on October 5, 2018, Murkowski began taking heat from some prominent conservatives. Perhaps, her most notable critic was fellow Alaskan Sarah Palin.
On Twitter, the former Alaska governor seemed to issue an interesting challenge. According to TheBlaze, leading up to the procedural vote, Palin had pleaded with Murkowski to “do the right thing.” When the Alaskan Senator didn’t act accordingly, the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate tweeted, “Hey @LisaMurkowski – I can see 2022 from my house…”
Many interpreted Palin’s message as a sign she might wish to challenge Murkowski for her senate seat in the future. Interestingly, this wouldn’t be the first time the former governor of Alaska tried to unseat Murkowski. These two women have a history. TheBlaze reported that Murkowski’s father Frank, another former governor of the state, appointed his daughter, rather than Palin, to the United States Senate in 2002. Palin went on to defeat Murkowski’s father in the Republican Primary on her way to the governor’s mansion in 2006. She served as governor of The Last Frontier state until 2009.
In 2010, Palin supported Murkowski’s Republican Primary candidate, Joe Miller. Miller actually defeated Murkowski in the race. However, Murkowski defied the odds that November when she won as a write-in candidate.
In 2016, the Senator won the Republican Primary. However, Miller still competed against her as a Libertarian candidate. Due to Murkowski’s somewhat confusing relationship with the Republican Party in her state, she probably feels less obligated to vote the same as her Republican colleagues in the United States Senate.
Obviously, many people felt the future of this great country hinged on the outcome of the Kavanaugh vote. So, unsurprisingly, Palin wasn’t the only person to issue a challenge to Murkowski due to her lack of support for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham also voiced her disdain about Murkowski’s defiance. On October 5, 2018, the host of Fox News’s The Ingraham Angle tweeted, “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.”
According to TheBlaze, Penny Nance, the head of Concerned Women for America, remarked, “There will be long-term resentment among Republican voters due to Sen. Murkowski’s lack of courage today Conservative women never forget.”
Trump also had some pointed words to say about Murkowski. During a phone conversation with the Washington Post on October 6, 2018, the President predicted the Senator “will never recover” politically due to her lack of support for Kavanaugh during his confirmation process. Proclaiming that Alaska voters “will never forgive” the Senator, Trump forecasted Murkowski’s defeat in the Republican Primary in 2022 if she decides to seek re-election.
While the President blasted Murkowski for her belligerence, he praised her often ally in the United States Senate, Susan Collins. Commenting about Collins’ affirmative vote for Kavanaugh, Trump said, “I think what Susan Collins did for herself was incredibly positive. It showed her to be an honorable, incredible woman. I think she’s got a level of respect that’s unbelievable. I really mean it.”
After voting “no” on the procedural vote on October 5, 2018, Murkowski fully intended to vote “no” during the final confirmation vote the next day. But, as a courtesy to Senator Steve Daines, Republican – Montana, she agreed to withdraw her “no” vote. Daines, who intended to vote “yes” for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, missed the vote due to his daughter’s wedding in Montana. Utilizing the practice referred to as a “pair between senators,” Murkowski made the vote the same as it would have been if Daines had been able to vote.
During a long speech on the Senate floor on October 5, 2018, Murkowski attempted to explain her indifference to Kavanaugh. According to Fox News Insider, Murkowski stated, “I have a very high standard. I have a very high bar for any nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.” The Senator also referred to the sexual allegations hurled at Kavanaugh as “the worst thing” anyone can be accused of.