Two swing state Democrats announced their opposition to Brett Kavanaugh on Friday, putting pressure on a handful of senators still on the fence about the beleaguered Supreme Court nominee and accused sexual predator.
Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, both of whom face tough reelections in traditionally Republican states, said they couldn’t in their right mind confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court pick in light of Thursday’s emotional testimony from Christine Blasey Ford — one of five women who have accused him of sexual assault and misconduct.
“While I would gladly welcome the opportunity to work with President Trump on a new nominee for this critically important position, if Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination comes before the full Senate for a vote under these circumstances, I will oppose it,” Donnelly said in a statement.
Tester followed shortly thereafter with a statement of his own.
“I have deep concerns about the allegations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh,” Tester said. “Unfortunately, Judge Kavanaugh couldn’t find time to discuss these concerns with me in person, so the only information I have is from what he said in his hearings. I’ll be voting against him.”
The announcements from Tester and Donnelly increase the already high pressure on Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).
Like Tester and Donnelly, Manchin and Heitkamp face tough reelections in November and have purposely kept mum on how they will vote on Kavanaugh.
Murkowski and Collins, on the other hand, are being actively targeted by Democrats who hope to be able to flip them on the grounds of Kavanaugh’s suspected aversion to abortion rights and alleged history of sexual abuse.
With a historically controversial nominee and a slim 51-49 majority, Senate Republicans are facing an uphill battle in a bid to cement a conservative legacy on the highest court of the land for decades to come.