For Senate Republicans who refuse to condemn the House-led impeachment inquiry, three may be the saddest numbers.
While a resolution stating that the House Democrats are moving fast has not received a vote, the GOP Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska refused to sign as supporters – the only 53 Republicans – to leave the door of ajar on the possibility that they would vote to oust President Donald. Trump if impeachment moves in its testing phase in the Senate.
But unlike the blowback that Romney and Collins faced in overthrowing the presidential party, Murkowski may end up seeing his part in the micro-rebellion that voters in his state hold. Alaska political experts told NBC News that the state is rewarding an independent riot to its politicians.
"In support of the president, we support individualism and we support individual freedom of expression. And that is for our politicians., Too, what party they are," said Tuckerman Babcock, retired as chairman of the Alaska GOP last year. "The Republicans here may disagree with him on a few things, but I can say it is safe that they respect his freedom of judgment."
In other words, Murkowski may be Trump's ̵1; but will not fall in favor of Republican voters. in his state.
Murkowski voted against the Senate-sponsored effort to repeal Obamacare in 2017, but later came out in support of repealing the Obamacare individual mandate. He voted against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh but supported Trump's tax cut bill. And he voted according to the president's position on the bills about 75 percent of the time, according to a fiveThirtyEight tally.
Murkowski also benefits from not being up for re-election in three years and from the strong financial support he has always received from Alaska's Native and interest corporations, an influential constituent of Alaska.
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"These things give him a way to vote in his heart often," Chanda Meek, a professor of political science at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks who studies politics in Alaska, told NBC News.
On the other hand, Murkowski's political rivals point out that throughout his three Senate races (in 2004, 2010 and 2016), he has never won a majority of votes – a fact they say signal that there will always be room for a more conservative candidate to mount a challenge when he is re-elected.
But even opponents have acknowledged that the unique nature of Alaska politics is likely to enable Murkowski to follow the facts on impeachment – even if it is opposed by Republican voters.
"When it comes to rank and file, I strongly believe that impeachment is viewed with great disgust and as a reflection of how completely broken the system is," said Joe Miller, a conservative lawyer. who ran against Murkowski in 2010 and 2016. "Because he is clearly outside the Republican mainstream (his) position is safe because the Republican Party is just too broad."
Murkowski said he would not support Sen. Lindsey Graham's resolution condemned the impeachment inquiry because "it is not the duty of the Senate to dictate to the House how to determine their own policies."
His office repeatedly declined to answer questions from NBC News about his position, pointing out instead of going back to earlier senatorial statements about not signing the resolution.
"Since departure, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have been holding back on this impeachment inquiry, from closed hearings and leaks of information to the direct abandonment of decades of established prior processes for the accused, ”Murkowski said in the statement. "A serious lack of transparency will not build public confidence or reliability in the Chamber's actions. As surprising as their process may be, formal inquiries of impeachment lie in the Chamber, and it is not the duty of the Senate to dictate Chambers on how to define their own rules. "
That statement contrasts with Romney's affiliation which is clearly pronounced criticism of Trump's dealings with Ukraine. The 72-year-old former Republican presidential nominee tweeted that "the President's rude and unprecedented appeal to China and Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is false and scary ."
Those actions, however, had the effect of separating Romney from his fellow Republicans in the Senate and from GOP voters in his home state, many of whom told NBC News in the past This month they have refused to acknowledge his presidential requests and his passive acceptance of the House impeachment inquiry.
Collins, meanwhile, faces even a potentially stronger backlash from Maine voters, as he is up for re-election next year.
A top target of Democrats in 2020 as they try to flip the GOP-controlled Senate, Collins last month called Trump public. asked for China to investigate Biden as "totally inappropriate" but said he would not take up the position on impeachment because he might be asked to serve as a grand jury during a possible Senate hearing. The public hearings on the Chamber's inquiry are set to begin next week, and if the chamber's vote can impeach, a Senate hearing may begin next month.
That position seems to be set aside by many conservatives who want to see their lawmakers defend Trump from Trump questioning impeachment: His once-high ratings in heaven's favor have fallen.
Murkowski, however, was likely to avoid the kinds of consequences, at this time.
"She can do her homework, as she always does, stay careful, follow the facts," said Meek, of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. "When the time comes, (he will) make a strategic decision as to whether the alleged abuse of power is important enough for him to take over and he will have many national Republicans following him.
" That, "Meek added," has not deterred him in the past. "