For those Senate Republicans who refuse to condemn the House-led impeachment investigation, three may be the loneliest number.
While a resolution denouncing the Democrats' high-speed probe received no vote, Utah GOP Sens. Mine Susan Collins and Alaska Lisa Murkovski refused to sign on as sponsors – the only 53 Republicans left – leaving the door open. with the possibility that they could vote to condemn President Donald Trump if impeachment moves on to its probationary phase in the Senate.
But unlike the thunderstorms that Romney and Collins face to break with the protection of the president's party, Mrkovsky may be part of this microbiota perceived by voters in her state. Alaska policy experts told NBC News that the state has a tendency to reward an independent streak in its politicians.
"As far as the support or opposition of the President is concerned, we support individualism and support individual freedom of expression. And that's true of our politicians, too, whatever the party, "said Tuckerman Babcock, who retired as Alaska GOP chairman last year." Republicans here may disagree with her on certain things, but I can say for sure that they respect her independence of judgment. "
In other words, Murkovsky may fall in line with Trump ̵
Murkovski votes against Senate-backed efforts. Trump to repeal Obamacare in 2017, but later voted in favor of repealing Obamacare's individual mandate, she voted against confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Bret Cavanaugh but supported Trump's tax cut bill, and she voted in accordance with the president's position on the bills about 75 percent of the time,
Murkowski also took advantage of the fact that he was not re-elected for three years and the strong financial support always received from local corporations and interest groups, an influential electoral race. ion of Alaska.
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"These things give her the freedom to vote with her heart so often," Chanda Meek, a professor of political science at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks who studies politics in Alaska,
On the other hand, Murkovsky's political rivals point out that in her three Senate races (in 2004, 2010 and 2016) she never won a majority of votes – a fact they say signals that there will always be a place for a more conservative candidate to meet the challenge when it is up for re-election.
But even these opponents admit that the unique character of Alaska politics is likely to allow Murkovsky to follow the impeachment facts – even if Republican voters oppose it.
"When it comes to a number, I strongly believe that impeachment is viewed with great disregard and as a reflection of how the system is completely broken," said Joe Miller, a conservative lawyer who ran against Murkovsky in 2010 and 2016. . "Because she is so clear outside the Republican mainstream (her) position is certain because the Republican Party is just so wide here."
Murkovski said he would not support Senator Lindsay Graham's resolution condemning the impeachment investigation because "is not the role of Xie s to dictate the Chamber how to set their own rules. "
Her office repeatedly refused to answer questions from NBC News regarding her position, referring instead to a previous senator's statement not to sign the resolution.
"From the initial conversation, President Pelosi and the House Democrats handled this impeachment investigation poorly, from closed-door hearings and leaked information to the final abandonment of decades of established precedent due to due process for the defendant," says Murkovsky statement. "A serious lack of transparency is unlikely to build public confidence or credibility for Parliament's actions. However horrific their process is, the official impeachment investigation lies in Parliament and it is not the Senate's role to dictate to the House how to determine its own "
This statement differed sharply with Romney's sharply criticized attitude toward Trump's relations with Ukraine. The 72-year-old former Republican presidential candidate has tweeted that "the president's insolent and unprecedented call to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and horrifying ."
However, these actions had the effect of isolating Romani from his Senate Republican colleagues and GOP voters in his home state, many of whom told NBC News last month that they strongly disapproved of his digging at the president and his passive acceptance of the House impeachment investigation.
Collins, meanwhile, is facing even more resonance than Maine voters because she is up for re-election next year.
A major target for Democrats in 2020, as they try to reverse the GOP-controlled Senate, Collins last month called Trump's public request for China to investigate Biden "completely inappropriate," but noted that he would not take an impeachment position. as he may be asked to serve as a juror during a possible Senate trial. Public hearings in the House's investigation are due to begin next week, and if the House votes on the impedance, the Senate process could begin next month.
This position seems to have alienated many conservatives who want to see their legislators defend Trump from an impeachment inquiry: Her once high favorability ratings have fallen.
However, Murkovsky seems likely to be able to avoid such consequences for the time being.
"She will be able to do her homework, as she always does, remain cautious, follow the facts," said Meek of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. "When the time comes (she) will make a strategic decision on whether the alleged abuse of power is important enough for her to accept that there will be many national Republicans after her.
"This," Meek added, "has not stopped her in the past. "