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Amid backlash from some Republicans who support Trump-endorsed opponent Kelly Shibaka, Sen. Tim Scott defended his endorsement of Sen. Lisa Murkowski for re-election Thursday.

“The road to socialism runs through a divided Republican Party,” Scott, RS.C., said. “I would love to win and frankly, our best shot at retaining that seat is without a doubt Lisa Murkowski.”

“The power of government is undeniable,” Scott said, among the reasons he thinks Murkowski, R-Alaska, will give Republicans the best chance to hold onto his seat in a crucial election year. “She works really hard,” he said.

Sen.  Tim Scott, RS.C., has endorsed Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who is facing Trump-backed primary challenger Kelly Tshibaka.

Sen. Tim Scott, RS.C., has endorsed Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who is facing Trump-backed primary challenger Kelly Tshibaka.
(Rod Lankey/Pool via REUTERS)

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The senator’s endorsement puts him at odds with former President Donald Trump in a key Senate race — a move that angered some on the right.

But Scott is far from the only Republican in the Senate race against Trump this cycle. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; former Vice President Mike Pence; Representative Elise Stefanik, RN.Y.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; And others endorsed 2022 GOP primary candidates in races where Trump endorsed their opponent.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is no stranger to facing primary challenges from the right.  She ran a successful write-in campaign in 2010 after losing the GOP nomination to a Tea Party-backed candidate.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is no stranger to facing primary challenges from the right. She ran a successful write-in campaign in 2010 after losing the GOP nomination to a Tea Party-backed candidate.
(Greg Nash/Pool via REUTERS)

Scott acknowledged Trump’s continued influence on the GOP on Thursday and said Trump’s endorsements have been effective for Republicans throughout this cycle.

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“You can tell by the number of races he’s won. I mean, he’s still the most powerful force in Republican politics and I think all of politics,” Scott said.

“That’s one of the reasons I’ve worked with him on tax reform and HBCUs and opportunity zones and sickle cell anemia and all the priorities that we’ve set that we’ve been able to see come to fruition,” he said. “I think his endorsement is powerful.”

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Kelly Shibaka for Senate in Alaska.

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Kelly Shibaka for Senate in Alaska.
(Tshibaka Senate Campaign)

Alaska will hold a “ranked choice” primary election on August 16, in which the top four candidates, regardless of political affiliation, advance to the general election. Both Murkowski and Shibaka are expected to go to the November election.

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Last year, the Alaska Republican Party voted 53-17 to censure Murkowski and discourage her from seeking the Republican nomination in 2022 after she voted to impeach Trump.

Tshibaka entered the race last year as well, and quickly became the consensus candidate for pro-Trump Republicans upset with Murkowski. But Murkowski faces challenges from the right, having mounted a successful write-in campaign to retain her Senate seat in 2010 when she lost the GOP nomination to a Tea Party candidate.