Alaska GOP endorses Trump-backed candidate over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2022 Senate race

Kelly Tshibaka
GOP Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka.

  • The Alaska GOP lined up behind Kelly Tshibaka over incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the 2022 Senate race.
  • Trump has pledged to campaign against Murkowski for her vote in support of his second impeachment.
  • Murkowski has served in the Senate since 2002 and has not yet filed for reelection.
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The Alaska Republican Party on Saturday threw its support behind GOP Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka in the 2022 Senate race, bypassing incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The state party backed Tshibaka over Murkowski in a 58-17 vote, according to The Hill.

Tshibaka, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump last month, said in a statement that she was “grateful and thrilled to have the strong support of the Alaska Republican Party.”

“We all share a unified goal: to promote the principles upon which our country and state were founded,” she wrote. “I have pledged that I will be true to our shared, conservative Alaska ideals and be a senator upon whom they can depend to make every decision based on what is best for our great state.”

She added: “It is time for conservative leaders, with courage and common sense, to rise together across the nation.”

While Murkowski has not yet indicated if she will run for a fourth term next year, the state party’s endorsement of Tshibaka reflects the continued internal divisions within the GOP as it relates to Trump.

Murkowski, who has compiled a more moderate record than most of her Senate GOP colleagues, voted to impeach Trump for this role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot earlier this year.

Read more: Where is Trump’s White House staff now? We created a searchable database of more than 327 top staffers to show where they all landed

The former president, still incensed by Murkowski’s vote, has committed to expending resources and time to defeat the senator.

In announcing his support of Tshibaka, the former state commissioner of administration, Trump called Murkowski “bad for Alaska.”

“Murkowski has got to go!,” Trump wrote. “Kelly Tshibaka is the candidate who can beat Murkowski – and she will. Kelly is a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America First. She is MAGA all the way, pro-energy, strong on the Border, tough on Crime and totally supports our Military and our great Vets.”

Tshibaka launched her campaign in March and brought on several alums of the Trump 2020 campaign.

In April, the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, threw its support behind Murkowski.

Despite Trump’s immense pull within the GOP, Murkowski has survived difficult political battles in the past.

She lost her GOP primary to challenger Joe Miller in the Tea Party wave of 2010, only to launch a successful write-in campaign for the general election.

Six years later, Murkowski faced off against Miller again – this time as the official GOP nominee – and easily won.

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Infrastructure talks enter last-ditch stage as both Republicans and Democrats eye gas tax increase

Mitt Romney congress
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney told Insider a bipartisan group is weighing indexing the gas tax to inflation.
  • The gas tax hasn’t been raised since 1993.
  • Other Democrats appeared noncommittal, reflecting the delicate state of the talks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republicans and Democrats are eyeing a potential increase to the gas tax as both parties entered a chaotic last-ditch effort to strike a bipartisan infrastructure deal after a month of failed discussions between President Joe Biden and Senate GOP

The bipartisan group is in the early stages of assembling a plan they hope will draw at least 60 votes in the evenly-divided Senate. The cohort is equally split between Republicans and Democrats.

It includes Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rob Portman of Ohio, as well as Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona; and Jon Tester of Montana. The group emerged after Biden pulled the plug on negotiations with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who had been Republicans’ chief negotiator since April.

Romney told Insider on Thursday that the new working group was weighing indexing the gas tax to inflation. The 18-cent levy hasn’t been raised since 1993. “It keeps it at the same value that it has today,” the Utah Republican said.

The White House has previously said bumping the gas tax was off limits given Biden’s pledge to not hike taxes for households earning under $400,000. They did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But the idea gained some momentum among Democrats when Sen. Dick Durbin of Iowa, second-ranked in the chamber, said he believed it “ultimately has to happen.”

“I look at it as a user fee. We pay taxes on gasoline because we want to drive our cars on safe roads,” Durbin told reporters.

Still, other Democrats in the group like Tester appeared noncommittal. “It’s not one of my favorite things, but we’ll see what the entire deal looks like,” he said in an interview. “I gotta see it in the context of everything, see what stays in and drops out.”

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, another Democrat in the group, declined to answer whether he supported it, a sign of the delicate state of the negotiations. “I actually think it’s better … until the cake is fully baked, to keep the ingredients quiet,” he told Insider.

Seth Hanlon, a tax expert and senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress, projected that indexing the gas tax to inflation would generate between $30 billion to $35 billion over a decade.

“It would be borne by consumers,” Hanlon told Insider. “We could get roughly the same revenue by rolling back the 2017 corporate tax cut by a fraction of a percentage point.”

He added that indexing the gas tax could have “modestly positive environmental effects,” though not if it’s only paired with spending focused on physical infrastructure and if it omits climate.

Biden’s two-part economic plans amount to $4 trillion in fresh spending on physical infrastructure like roads and bridges, as well as caregiving, cash payments, universal pre-K, community college, and a wide range of measures.

Both parties remain far apart on the scope of an infrastructure bill and how to pay for it. Other Republicans are increasingly signaling that climate provisions wouldn’t be included in their package.

Biden, along with congressional Democrats, are pushing clean energy tax incentives, a national system of electric vehicle charging stations, and federal funds to retrofit homes.

“If they’re looking for a line item that says ‘climate,’ they’re not going to see that,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said of Democrats.

A few Senate Democrats have stepped up their criticism of the bipartisan talks in recent days, warning that such talks risk omitting measures to combat climate change in an infrastructure deal. Another top Democrat threatened to withhold his vote if climate wasn’t sufficiently addressed.

“On a big infrastructure bill, to pass on climate altogether? No way!” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told Insider. “Think I’m blunt enough? No way.”

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GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she’s ‘offended’ by House Republicans minimizing the Capitol riot

Lisa Murkowski
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), foreground, speaks during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) listens.

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski criticized House GOP efforts to downplay the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
  • “I’m offended by that,” Murkowski told CNN. “This was not a peaceful protest.”
  • Murkowski said she would be open to backing an investigation examining the riot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on Friday said that she was “offended” by a number of House Republicans who have sought to minimize the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to CNN.

Murkowski, who voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial for his role in the riot, slammed revisionist attempts to label the insurrectionist mob’s actions as “a normal tourist visit.”

“I’m offended by that,” Murkowski told CNN. “This was not a peaceful protest. When somebody breaks and enters, and then just because you know they don’t completely trash your house once you’re inside does not mean that it has been peaceful. This was not a peaceful protest.”

She added: “We got to get beyond that rhetoric and acknowledge that what happened were acts of aggression and destruction towards an institution, and there were some people intent on (harming) the people that were part of that institution.”

Murkowski, who is also up for reelection next year and has been targeted for defeat by Trump, expressed a willingness to back a bipartisan commission in Congress that would examine the riot.

“I’m one that thinks that there should be an investigation regarding the events on the 6th,” she said.

Read more: How Marjorie Taylor Green became the Voldemort of Congress. Few lawmakers even want to say her name.

Advocates of the commission hope an investigation would deter any further GOP attempts to downplay the riot, which has become a popular sentiment among some House Republicans.

On Friday, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas minimized the severity of the insurrection.

“There have been things worse than people without any firearms coming into a building,” he expressed on the House floor, arguing that Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 attacks were more consequential events.

“When Pearl Harbor occurred, that was more of an attack on democracy than the protests of January 6,” he said. “When 9/11 occurred, and I know it’s been so long ago and a lot of people that have forgotten apparently about 9/11, 3,000 people killed, the Pentagon was hit, the two World Trade Centers were hit, thousands died.”

Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona accused the Justice Department of “harassing peaceful patriots across the country.

A fellow conservative, Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, tried to dispute that the protestors were mostly in support of Trump, despite the rally held that day that sought to pressure Republicans to overturn the Electoral College victory of President Joe Biden.

“I don’t know who did a poll to say that they were Trump supporters,” he said.

Another Republican, Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, described the harrowing scene as similar to a “normal tourist visit” to the Capitol.

“Let’s be honest with the American people: It was not an insurrection,” he said. “There was an undisciplined mob. There were some rioters, and some who committed acts of vandalism.”

He added: “To call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bald-faced lie.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mitt Romney and other GOP senators say they will oppose an effort by their colleagues to challenge the election results

mitt romney
Sen. Mitt Romney criticized the efforts of some of his colleagues, including Sen. Ted Cruz.

  • Republican Sens. Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, and Lisa Murkowski have said they will oppose an effort by their colleagues to challenge the election results.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz is among a group of GOP senators that said they will oppose the certification of Electoral College votes on Wednesday during a joint session of Congress that is usually procedural.
  • The effort could delay the certification of the results, but it will not change the results of the vote in any US state.
  • In a statement Saturday, Romney said the effort “may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and other Republican senators said on Saturday that they will oppose an effort by their colleagues to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Earlier in the day, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas announced he will object to the certification of Electoral College votes, and a number of GOP senators are expected to join him.

“The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic,” Romney said in a statement.

President-elect Joe Biden won the election by receiving 306 electoral votes compared to President Donald Trump’s 232. The results have been certified in every state, and presidential electors cast their votes last month.

The electors’ votes are set to be certified Wednesday during a joint session of Congress that is usually procedural, confirming the winner that voters and the Electoral College have already chosen.

Cruz’s effort to object could delay the certification of the results, but it will not change the election results in any US state.

Romney harshly rejected the effort, emphasizing the will of the voters.

“Were Congress to actually reject state electors, partisans would inevitably demand the same any time their candidate had lost,” Romney said. “Congress, not voters in the respective states, would choose our presidents.”

Republicans planning to object are reportedly requesting a 10-day emergency audit of the election results in some states, though Romney also noted that the Trump campaign lost all of its election lawsuits and that the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome.

He also criticized Trump directly for calling on his supporters to rally in DC the day the vote would be certified, saying it could lead to “disruption, and worse.”

“I could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world,” Romney said. “Has ambition so eclipsed principle?”

Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also said they would oppose the effort.

“A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of the people to elect their own leaders,” Toomey said in a series of tweets on Saturday.

He said the attempt by Cruz and others to overturn the election results “directly undermines this right.”

Toomey said the senators are justifying their objection by citing allegations of fraud, but that “allegations of fraud by a losing campaign cannot justify overturning an election.” He also said judges across the US have determined the allegations of fraud were not supported by evidence.

He said he voted for Trump, but that he plans “to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others.”

Murkowski also said in a statement Saturday that she will vote to affirm the Electoral College results and urged senators of both parties to do the same.

“The courts and state legislatures have all honored their duty to hear legal allegations and have found nothing to warrant overturning the results,” she said. 

Republicans who reportedly plan to object to the certification of the results include Cruz, Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri also said on Wednesday that he intends to object.

Read the original article on Business Insider