The two women who control the Senate

“I am very cognizant of how I was returned to the Senate. It was not my party that returned me,” Murkowski said in an interview with National Journal. “It was voters across the spectrum that returned me to represent them here in Washington, DC. It was Democrats, it was independents, it was Greens, it was some tea party—not too many—it was Republicans, it was Alaskans from all areas that came together and proactively voted for me.”

After going through all that, it would have been easy for Murkowski to run to the right when she returned to the Senate chamber to protect her political future; many of her colleagues have. But when she returned to the Senate in 2011, Murkowski may have slipped even closer to the center.

If you see Murkowski walking across the halls of the Capitol these days, or speaking on the floor on C-SPAN, you’ll see a glint on her left wrist. Every day she wears a gold bracelet that her husband gave to her, a more fashionable copy of the rubber bracelets her 2010 campaign handed out to voters reminding them how to spell her name.

“I don’t take this bracelet off,” Murkowski said. “I wear it as a reminder of how I came to serve this second full term. And so every day I think about the constituency that I represent. … Am I working for my party or am I working for my state? And at the end of the day, that’s not something I need to wrestle with for very long.”