|United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
December 20, 2002
Serving with Dan Sullivan
|Preceded by||Frank Murkowski|
|Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Mary Landrieu|
|Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference|
June 17, 2009 – September 17, 2010
|Preceded by||John Thune|
|Succeeded by||John Barrasso|
|Member of the Alaska House of Representatives|
from the 14th district
January 19, 1999 – December 20, 2002
|Preceded by||Terry Martin|
|Succeeded by||Vic Kohring|
Lisa Ann Murkowski
May 22, 1957
Ketchikan, Territory of Alaska, U.S.
|Education||Georgetown University (BA)|
Willamette University (JD)
Lisa Ann Murkowski (//; born May 22, 1957) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Alaska, having held that seat since 2002. She is a member of the Republican Party, and is the second most senior Republican woman in the Senate. Along with Susan Collins from Maine, she is frequently described as one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate and is a crucial swing voter.
Murkowski is the daughter of former U.S. Senator and Governor of Alaska, Frank Murkowski. Before her appointment to the Senate, she served in the Alaska House of Representatives and was eventually elected Majority Leader. She was appointed to the U.S. Senate by her father, who resigned his seat in December 2002 to become the Governor of Alaska. She completed her father's unexpired term, which ended in January 2005.
Murkowski ran for and won a full term in 2004. She ran for a second term in 2010. After losing the Republican Party primary to Tea Party candidate Joe Miller, Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate and defeated both Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams in the general election; this made her the second U.S. Senator, the first being Strom Thurmond in 1954, to be elected by write-in vote. Although Murkowski has won three full terms to the Senate, she has never won a majority of the vote; she won pluralities in each of her three races, with 48.6% of the vote in 2004, 39.5% in 2010, and 44.4% in 2016.
Early life, education, and early career
Murkowski was born in Ketchikan, Alaska, the daughter of Nancy Rena (née Gore) and Frank Murkowski. Her paternal great-grandfather was of Polish descent, and her mother's ancestry is Irish and French Canadian. As a child, she and her family moved around the state with her father's job as a banker.
She earned a B.A. degree in Economics from Georgetown University in 1980, the same year her father was elected to the U.S. Senate. She is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and represented the state of Alaska as the 1980 Cherry Blossom Princess. She received her J.D. degree in 1985 from Willamette University College of Law.
She was employed as an attorney in the Anchorage District Court Clerk's office (1987–89). From 1989 to 1998, she was an attorney in private practice in Anchorage, Alaska. She also served, from 1990 to 1991, on the Mayor's Task Force for the Homeless.
Alaska House of Representatives
In 1998, Murkowski was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives. Her District 18 included northeast Anchorage, Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base (now Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, or JBER), and suburban parts of Eagle River-Chugiak. In 1999, she introduced legislation establishing a Joint Armed Services Committee. She was reelected in 2000 and, after her district boundaries changed, in 2002. That latter year she had a conservative primary opponent, Nancy Dahlstrom, who had challenged her because Murkowski had supported abortion rights and rejected conservative economics. Murkowski prevailed by only 56 votes. She was named as House Majority Leader for the 2003–2004 legislative session. She resigned her House seat before taking office, due to her appointment by her father to the seat he had vacated in the U.S. Senate, upon his stepping down to assume the Alaska governorship. Murkowski sat on the Alaska Commission on Post Secondary Education and chaired both the Labor and Commerce, and the Military and Veterans Affairs Committees. Upon her resigning and taking her Senate seat, her father appointed Dahlstrom, the choice of the District Republican committee, as her replacement.
In December 2002, Murkowski—while a member of the state House—was appointed by her father, Governor Frank Murkowski, to fill his own U.S. Senate seat made vacant when he resigned from the Senate after being elected Governor.
The appointment caused controversy in the state. Many voters disapproved of apparent nepotism in the appointment of Murkowski to the Senate. Her appointment eventually resulted in a referendum that stripped the governor of his power to directly appoint replacement Senators. Sarah Palin was particularly upset, because she had interviewed for the seat for herself, but had been rejected.
Murkowski ran for a full six-year term against Democratic former Governor Tony Knowles in the 2004 election after winning a primary challenge by a large margin. She was considered vulnerable due to the controversy over her appointment, and polling showed that the race was very close. The centrist Republican Main Street Partnership, which wanted to run TV ads for Murkowski, was told no air time was left to buy. Near the end of the general campaign, senior U.S. Senator Ted Stevens shot campaign ads for Murkowski and claimed that if a Democrat replaced Murkowski, the State of Alaska would likely receive fewer federal dollars. Ultimately, Murkowski defeated Knowles by a narrow margin.
Murkowski faced the most difficult election of her career in the August 24, 2010, Republican Party primary election against Joe Miller, a former U.S. magistrate judge supported by former Governor Sarah Palin. The initial ballot count for the primary showed her trailing Miller by a margin of 51–49%, with absentee ballots yet to be tallied. After the first round of absentee ballots were counted on August 31, Murkowski conceded the race, stating that she did not believe that Miller's lead would be overcome in the next round of absentee vote count.
Following the outcome of the primary election, the Murkowski campaign floated the idea of her running as a Libertarian in the general election. But on August 29, 2010, the executive board of the state Libertarian Party voted not to consider allowing Murkowski on its ticket for the U.S. Senate race.
On September 17, 2010, Murkowski said that she would mount a write-in campaign for the Senate seat. Her write-in campaign was aided in large part with substantial monetary aid and assistance from the Native corporations and PACs, as well as support from state teachers' and firefighters' unions.
On November 17, 2010, the Associated Press reported that Murkowski had become only the second Senate candidate (after Strom Thurmond in 1954) to win a write-in campaign, thereby retaining her seat. Murkowski emerged victorious after a two-week count of write-in ballots showed she had overtaken Miller. Miller did not concede defeat. U.S. Federal District Judge Ralph Beistline granted an injunction to stop the certification of the election due to "serious" legal issues and irregularities raised by Miller as to the hand count of absentee ballots. On December 10, 2010, an Alaskan judge dismissed Miller's case, clearing the way for Murkowski's win; however, Miller appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court, and the results were not certified. On December 13, Miller appealed the Alaska Superior Court decision of the prior week to the Alaska Supreme Court. Miller's appeal was rejected by the state Supreme Court on December 22, 2010. On December 28, 2010, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline dismissed Miller's lawsuit. Murkowski was certified as the winner on December 30 by Gov. Sean Parnell.
After securing the Republican Party nomination by a wide margin, Murkowski was again reelected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. Joe Miller, this time running as the Libertarian Party nominee, was again the runner-up in the general election.
The election was unusual in featuring a Libertarian Party nominee who endorsed Donald Trump running against a Republican incumbent who did not. The Libertarian vice-presidential nominee Bill Weld endorsed Murkowski, citing Miller's support for Trump and "devoted social conservative" views as incompatible with libertarianism.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (Chairman)
- As Chairman of the full committee, Murkowski may serve as an ex officio member of all subcommittees.
- Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- Committee on Indian Affairs
- Senate Oceans Caucus (co-chairwoman)
- Senate Cultural Caucus
- Afterschool Caucuses
- Senate Republican Conference
Senator Lisa Murkowski is considered a moderate Republican. Since winning re-election in 2010, her voting record has been deemed by some as "more moderate" when compared to her previous years in the Senate. The National Journal, in 2013, gave Murkowski a composite score of 56% conservative and 45% liberal. The National Journal ranked her as the 56th most liberal and 44th most conservative member of the Senate. According to GovTrack, Murkowski is the second most liberal Republican Senator and, as of 2017[update], is placed by GovTrack's analysis to the left of all Republicans, except Susan Collins, and to the left of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. The New York Times arranged Republican senators by ideology and also ranked Murkowski as the second most liberal Republican. In 2018, the fiscally conservative PAC Americans for Prosperity gave her a lifetime rating of 75% conservative and the ACU gave her a 52% conservative score in 2017. Americans for Democratic Action gave her a 2018 rating of 20% liberal. According to FiveThirtyEight, which tracks Congressional votes, Murkowski voted with President Trump's position approximately 74% of the time as of April 2020[update]. According to CQ Roll Call, Murkowski voted with President Obama's position on votes 72.3% of the time in 2013, one of only two Republicans voting for his positions over 70% of the time.
|Republican||Lisa Murkowski (incumbent)||368||100|
|Republican||Lisa Murkowski (incumbent)||3,828||96.4|
|Republican||Nancy A. Dahlstrom||429||46.9|
|Republican||Lisa Murkowski (incumbent)||45,710||58.1|
|Republican||Lisa Murkowski (incumbent)||149,446||48.62|
|Independent||Marc J. Millican||8,857||2.88|
|Alaskan Independence||Jerry Sanders||3,765||1.22|
|Libertarian||Scott A. Kohlhaas||1,237||0.40|
|Republican||Lisa Murkowski (incumbent)||53,872||49.09|
|Write-in||Lisa Murkowski (incumbent)||101,091||39.49|
|Write-in||Other write-in votes||1,143||0.44|
|Invalid or blank votes||2,784||1.08|
|Republican||Lisa Murkowski (incumbent)||138,149||44.36|
|Independent||Breck A. Carter||2,609||0.84|
|Invalid or blank votes||5,363||1.69|
Property sale controversy
In July 2007, Murkowski stated she would sell back land she bought from Anchorage businessman Bob Penney, a day after a Washington watchdog group filed a Senate ethics complaint against her, alleging that Penney sold the property well below market value. The Anchorage Daily News noted, "The transaction amounted to an illegal gift worth between $70,000 and $170,000, depending on how the property was valued, according to the complaint by the National Legal and Policy Center." According to the Associated Press, Murkowski bought the land from two developers tied to the Ted Stevens probe.
In 2008, Murkowski amended her Senate financial disclosures for 2004 through 2006, adding income of $60,000 per year from the sale of a property in 2003, and more than $40,000 a year from the sale of her "Alaska Pasta Company" in 2005.
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Murkowski, who graduated in 1985 from Willamette University's College of Law in Oregon, wasn't admitted to the Alaska Bar until November 1987. She flunked the exam in July 1985, February 1986, July 1986 and again in February 1987. She passed on her fifth try in July 1987.
- "MURKOWSKI, Lisa - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov.
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- Mike Chambers (December 20, 2002). "Gov. Murkowski appoints daughter to fill Senate seat". PeninsulaClarion.com. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2014-12-28. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski trailed her lesser-known conservative opponent Tuesday in a surprisingly tight race that was seen as a test of the political power of Sarah Palin and the tea party movement.[dead link]
Cave, Damien (2010-08-25). "Murkowski of Alaska Locked in a Tight Senate Race". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, whose family has held a decades-long grip on one of the state's two Senate seats, was in a surprisingly tight race Wednesday morning against an insurgent candidate, a Tea Party favorite who received the backing of Sarah Palin.
- "State of Alaska 2010 Primary Election, August 24, 2010 Unofficial Results". Alaska Secretary of State. 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
- Cockerham, Sean (2010-08-31). "It's another Tea Party win as Alaska's Murkowski concedes". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski late Tuesday conceded the Republican primary election to Joe Miller, the Tea-Party backed challenger who maintained his Election Day lead after thousands of additional absentee and other ballots were counted through the day.
- Joling, Dan (August 31, 2010). "Murkowski Concedes Alaska Primary Race". WBBM-TV. Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 1, 2010.
- Memoli, Michael A. (2010-08-27). "Libertarians an option for Murkowski". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
The state Libertarian Party told the Anchorage Daily News that it was open to the possibility of nominating Murkowski as a third-party candidate, a notion that her campaign is not embracing but has not ruled out.
- Cockerham, Sean (2010-09-07). "Libertarians cool to Murkowski candidacy". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- Bohrer, Becky (2010-09-18). "Murkowski mounting write-in bid for Alaska Senate". Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-09-18.
Murkowski faces tough odds with her write-in candidacy. She has lost support from members within the Republican establishment, who are backing the Republican nominee, Joe Miller.
- Murphy, Kim (2010-11-18). "Lisa Murkowski claims victory in Alaska Senate election". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
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"Murkowski shows independent streak". POLITICO. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
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"AK US Senate". Our Campaigns. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
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- "Murkowski to sell back Kenai property". Anchorage Daily News. July 26, 2007. Archived from the original on August 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- "Stevens' aide said to testify in probe". Baltimore Sun. August 1, 2007. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
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Lisa Murkowski Exposed In Kenai River Land Scam, Alaska Report, July 20, 2007
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lisa Murkowski.|
- Senator Lisa Murkowski official U.S. Senate website
- Lisa Murkowski for Senate
- Lisa Murkowski at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Interview-impeachment process
- Lisa Murkowski at 100 Years of Alaska's Legislature