Dem Manchin, GOP Murkowski Endorse Each Other In Senate Bids Sen Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., walks with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska,as they make their way to the Senate Chambers at the U.S. Capitol on October 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty)
By Charles Kim | Monday, 07 February 2022 05:27 PM
Senators Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, crossed party lines Sunday and endorsed each other in their reelection bids.
"I’m endorsing my dear friend Lisa Murkowski. Alaska could only be so lucky to have her continue to serve them," Manchin said during CNN’s "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper Sunday.
"It’s hypocritical to basically work with a person day-in and day-out, and then when they are in (election) cycle you’re supposed to be against them because they have a ‘R’ or ‘D’ by their names."
Murkowski returned the sentiment, saying she would also endorse Manchin in his bid for re-election in West Virginia.
"I’ll be there for you Joe," Murkowski said, clarifying, "If he’s running, I’m endorsing him."
The unique display of bipartisanship comes during hyper-polarizing political times which both senators say is "uncomfortable," and making things in Washington, D.C., "miserable."
"It can be uncomfortable (to go against your party), but you’ve got to be comfortable enough in who you are and who you represent and why you’re here," Murkowski said. "I’m not here to be the representative of the Republican party. I’m here to be the representative for Alaskan people, and I take that charge very, very seriously."
Murkowski recently came under fire from some Republicans and former President Donald Trump for criticizing the party’s decision to censure Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Rep. Adam Kinzinger. R-Ill., for being part of the Jan. 6 House Select Committee, created by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., which the Republican National Committee sees as partisan persecution of "ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse," Newsweek reported.
Five people died during and in the immediate aftermath of the protest and riot, including Ashli Babbitt – who was shot and killed by Capitol Police – and officer Brian Sicknick, who suffered a stroke and died the next day.
"What happened on Jan. 6, 2021, was an effort to overturn a lawful election resulting in violence and destruction at the Capitol," Murkowski posted on Twitter Saturday. "We must not legitimize those actions which resulted in loss of life, and we must learn from that horrible event, so history does not repeat itself."
Trump is backing a primary challenge to Murkowski by Kelly Tshibaka, calling the challenger "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. Kelly is a powerful supporter of the Second Amendment and JOBS," Medaite reported.
Meanwhile, Manchin is facing his own backlash from Democrats for not supporting an end to the filibuster and allowing his party to pass election reform legislation and President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion Build Back Better budget reconciliation bill.
For his part, Manchin said Sunday that the highly charged political climate is making it “miserable” for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who want to work together to get things done.
He told Tapper Sunday that he has never run “unopposed” since 1982 and is not afraid of potential Democrat primary challengers being called for by the progressive wing of his party.