Apr 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Manchin backs Republican Lisa Murkowski for Senate re-election

Manchin and Murkowski

Phot: Graeme Jennings/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) told Politico he's backing Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski for re-election in Alaska's 2022 Senate race.

Why it matters: While Murkowski is facing a primary challenge from at least one pro-Trump Republican, Democrats in Manchin's own party will also be vying for the Alaska Senate seat. Murkowski said she would "welcome [Manchin's] endorsement."

What they're saying: "I've met a lot of good people in Alaska, they know when they've got the real deal. And they see the person that basically is bringing both sides together, trying to look for the best interest," Manchin said of Murkowski during a joint interview.

The big picture: Manchin's endorsement underscores his commitment to working with Republicans. Both he and Murkowski are critical moderate swing votes in the 50-50 Senate and have caused headaches for their respective party's leadership.

  • For Democrats, Manchin opposes abolishing the filibuster, is hesitant about using reconciliation and often pushes back against progressive priorities.
  • For Republicans, Murkowski is pro-choice, openly anti-Trump and crosses party lines frequently on key votes and nominations — including the second impeachment of Donald Trump. The former president has vowed to campaign against her.

Flashback: Manchin also endorsed moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in her 2020 re-election campaign.

  • "I don't think we should be campaigning against any colleagues, Democrat or Republican," Manchin said at the time.
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