Murkowski, Collins back Haley in GOP primary

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced Friday their endorsements for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in the GOP presidential primary against former President Trump.

“I’m proud to endorse Gov. Nikki Haley,” Murkowski said in a statement shared by Haley’s campaign.

“America needs someone with the right values, vigor, and judgment to serve as our next President—and in this race, there is no one better than her,” she continued. “Nikki will be a strong leader and uphold the ideals of the Republican Party while serving as a President for all Americans.”

Collins separately told the Bangor Daily News that she had voted for Haley in the primary, saying in a statement to the news outlet “She has the energy, intellect, and temperament that we need to lead our country in these very tumultuous times.”

Murkowski and Collins are the first GOP senators to endorse Haley in the race and were among the seven Republican senators to vote to convict Trump for his alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Trump, however, was not ultimately convicted in the Senate.

The former president has called Murkowski a “RINO,” referencing the acronym “Republican in name only,” and claimed “she’s worse than a Democrat,” in endorsing a primary challenger to her during the November 2022 midterms following her vote to convict him.

However, the Alaskan Republican survived a challenge from the Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka that election cycle.

Trump has similarly gone after Collins, saying in 2022 that she was “absolutely atrocious” and claimed that had he waded into her 2020 reelection, she would have lost.

Haley said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she was “grateful” to have the endorsements of Murkowski and Collins.

“Two strong senators in one day. I’m grateful to have their support,” Haley wrote. “Thank you Sens. @senatorcollins and @lisamurkowski. We have a country to save!”

The endorsements come just days before Super Tuesday, when Alaska, Maine and several other states — plus American Samoa — will cast ballots in the GOP presidential primary.

Haley faces a steep climb to winning the Republican nomination, as she’s lost every Republican early nominating contest where she’s competed on the same ballot with Trump.

Yet, Haley has vowed to continue on as she has galvanized an anti-Trump cohort of the GOP.

Updated at March 2 at 9:30 a.m.

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