Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Friday she would remain in the Senate Republican Conference despite not voting for former President Donald Trump in November’s election.
In ruling out caucusing with Senate Democrats, Murkowski asked fellow Republicans to reembrace the party that existed under former GOP presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, per The Hill.
“I can be very discouraged at times by things that go on in my own caucus, in my own party,” said Murkowski, who admitted she wrote in a name for president in the election.
“I think each member feels that. But I have absolutely no desire to move over to the Democrat side of the aisle.”
Murkowski refused to say whose name she wrote in for president on her ballot but added, “he didn’t win.”
“People have asked and it’s like, you know what, it’s not really relevant who I voted for,” she added.
After telling Alaska public radio earlier this month she “absolutely, unequivocally” would not switch parties, some people suggested Murkowski might leave the Republicans to become an independent.
In fact, Murkowski won the 2010 general election that year as a write-in candidate after being abandoned by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
On Friday, Murkowski seemed to indicate she felt most at home with the more traditional Republicans.
“I would like us to be that party that is inclusive of young people and minorities and LGBTQ and all people everywhere regardless of demographic or background,” she said. “I think the Republican Party has so much to offer if we can just get away from the personalities that have shaped it into a more narrowly defined view.”
Murkowski was the first Senate Republican to suggest Trump should leave office early before Joe Biden’s inauguration in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
“‘You’re not really one of us,'” Murkowski said she hears from some Republicans. “Let’s define what is the Republican Party nowadays.
“Where is the Republican Party? Who really exemplifies the heart of the party right now? I think in many ways we are a party that is really struggling to identify.”
Still, she refused to join Trump’s base.
“We have some that have solidly identified with Trump and probably will continue to identify for years going forward,” she said, “but you have a lot of other people that were not really sold on Trump but they absolutely embraced the policies.”
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