[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/08/art.murkowski.0608.gi.jpg caption ="Senate Republicans have decided not to strip Sen. Lisa Murkowski of her leadership position on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee."]Washington (CNN) - In a surprise move, Senate Republicans decided not to remove Sen. Lisa Murkowski from her top position on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Wednesday, according to several Republican senators who refused to explain their decision.
Republicans had indicated as recently as Tuesday she was likely to lose her seniority on the committee as penalty for her write-in candidacy in Alaska.
A GOP source in the room tells CNN, despite anger towards Murkowski, the conference decided not to even take up the question of the Senate Energy Committee post because "there was a sense that she's resigned her leadership post, she lost her primary, she will probably lose her race, and she'll be gone. She will not be ranking [Republican] because she will not be here."
This, despite strong words from colleagues like Sen. John Cornyn a day earlier, who was among many Republicans who predicted they would remove her from the committee post.
“I look forward to continuing to serve as the Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee," Murkowski said in a statement released by her office Wednesday.
Sen. Murkowski resigned her position as vice chair of the GOP Conference Friday.
Updated 3:11 p.m.