Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday endorsed Republican colleague Lisa Murkowski for reelection, crossing party lines to back the incumbent from Alaska who faces a primary challenger supported by former President Donald Trump.
The conservative West Virginia lawmaker said he has teamed well with Murkowski in the 50-50 Senate to build bipartisan support for legislation such as President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law. He said Alaska and the Senate are well-served with her in office.
“It’s hypocritical to basically work with a person day in and day out and then, when they’re in cycle, you’re supposed to be against them because they have an R or D by their name,” said Manchin, who appeared with Murkowski on CNN’s “State of the Union” to promote the values of bipartisanship.
“Alaska could only be so lucky to have her continue to serve them,” he said.
Murkowski faces GOP primary challenger Kelly Tshibaka, who has support from Trump and Alaska Republican party leaders but who significantly trails the incumbent in fundraising. A Democrat has yet to enter the race; the state’s last Democratic senator, Mark Begich, lost reelection in 2014.
It isn’t the first time that Manchin has bucked his party’s political operation. In 2020, he endorsed Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in her reelection bid. Manchin had indicated last April that he would support Murkowski if she chose to run again this year.
Murkowski is one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial for his role in stoking the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.