Tim Scott defends Murkowski’s approval amid backlash from right: ‘I like winning’

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sen. Tim Scott defended his endorsement of Sen. Lisa Murkowski up for reelection amid backlash from some Republicans backing her Trump-backed opponent, Kelly Tshibaka.

“The road to socialism cuts right through a divided Republican Party,” said Scott, RC. “I love winning and honestly the best chance to keep us in that seat is without a doubt Lisa Murkowski.”

Scott said one of the reasons he thinks Murkowski, R-Alaska, gives Republicans the best chance of holding her seat in a key election year is that “the power of the incumbent is undeniable.” He added that “she works very hard.”

sen. Tim Scott, RS.C., supported Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, facing Trump-backed primary challenger Kelly Tshibaka.
(Rod Lamkey/Pool via REUTERS)

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The senator’s approval puts him at odds with former President Donald Trump in the main Senate race — a move that has angered some on the right.

But Scott is far from the only Republican to be on the other side of a Senate race from Trump this cycle. sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; former Vice President Mike Pence; Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y.; Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and others have endorsed the 2022 GOP primary candidates in races where Trump endorsed their competitor.

sen.  Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is no stranger to fending off primary challenges from the right.  She ran a successful application campaign in 2010 after losing the GOP nomination to a Tea Party-backed candidate.

sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is no stranger to fending off primary challenges from the right. She ran a successful application campaign in 2010 after losing the GOP nomination to a Tea Party-backed candidate.
(Greg Nash/Pool via REUTERS)

Scott acknowledged Trump’s continued influence over the GOP on Thursday, saying Trump’s approvals have generally been effective for Republicans this cycle.

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“You can tell by the number of races he’s won. I mean, the bottom line is that he’s still the most powerful force in Republican politics, and I think all of politics,” Scott said.

“That’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed working with him on tax reform and HBCUs and opportunity zones and sickle cell anemia and all the priorities we’ve set, we’ve been able to see them being achieved,” he added. “I think his endorsement is strong.”

Former President Donald Trump backed Kelly Tshibaka for the Alaska Senate.

Former President Donald Trump backed Kelly Tshibaka for the Alaska Senate.
(Tshibaka Senate campaign)

Alaska will hold a “ranked choice” primary on August 16, with the top four candidates, regardless of political affiliation, advancing to the general election. Murkowski and Tshibaka are both likely to advance to the November elections.

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Last year, Alaska’s Republican Party voted 53-17 to censor Murkowski and discouraged her from identifying as a Republican candidate in 2022 after voting to impeach Trump.

Tshibaka also entered the race last year and quickly became the consensus candidate for pro-Trump Republicans angry with Murkowski. But Murkowski is used to challenges from the right, including in 2010 when she lost the GOP nomination to a Tea Party candidate and then staged a successful application campaign to keep her Senate seat.

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