Facing mounting pressure, key bipartisan senators remain unannounced on Kavanaugh

Pressure is mounting for a small group of undecided senators from each party who have about two weeks to dec...

Posted: Sep 13, 2018 8:05 AM
Updated: Sep 13, 2018 8:05 AM

Pressure is mounting for a small group of undecided senators from each party who have about two weeks to decide how they will vote on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Several Democrats running for re-election in Republican stronghold states won by President Donald Trump are facing tough political choices ahead of the midterm election: Vote for Kavanaugh and upset their base Democratic voters, possibly dampening turnout in November, or vote against the judge and risk angering Trump supporters in their states who might otherwise vote for them.

Brett Kavanaugh

Donald Trump

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Legislation

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

Susan Collins

US Congress

US political parties

US Republican Party

US Senate

US Democratic Party

For now, they aren't saying how they will vote, but it's notable that they haven't come out against him, as so many of their Democratic colleagues have done.

Asked Wednesday if she had seen any red flags about Kavanaugh, North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said, "not that I've seen so far."

But she said she is still "reviewing his record."

Sen. Joe Donnelly, an Indiana Democrat up for re-election this year, also declined to say how he will vote.

"I'm still reviewing everything at this point," he said.

Another undecided Democrat, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, said he wants to review the confirmation hearings transcript and meet in-person with Kavanaugh soon to "set the record straight" on some issues. Tester said he has concerns about Kavanaugh's record on abortion rights, security and campaign finance.

In the wake of Kavanaugh's contentious confirmation hearings last week, outside liberal groups including those who fear Kavanaugh's confirmation could lead to an overturning of Roe vs. Wade are ratcheting up pressure on Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine -- both seen as potential swing votes in the nomination because they are pro-abortion rights -- with some attacks on Collins growing increasingly hostile, according to her staff.

In recent days, Collins's office has reported an increase in vulgar messages being directed at the senator and her staff. Several GOP senators blasted the liberal groups for targeting Collins.

"The increasingly aggressive behavior being employed by liberal activists and opponents of Judge Kavanaugh is extremely concerning. Targeting members in such a personal and hostile way has no place in public discourse, and Senator Schumer's continued silence sends a dangerous message to the Senate and country," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber, said in a statement. "It's time for Senator Schumer to make clear where he stands and disavow the mob rule of the radical Left."

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a member of the Judiciary Committee and the most senior Republican in the Senate, predicted the campaign against Collins wouldn't work and she would vote for the judge.

"She knows he's a class act and a reasonable guy," said Hatch who also said he expects Kavanaugh to be confirmed when a vote is expected during the last week of September.

A crowdfunding campaign has also threatened to fund a challenger against Collins if she votes for Kavanaugh.

"Bribery will not work on Senator Collins," said Annie Clark, a spokeswoman for Collins. "Extortion will not work on Senator Collins. And anybody who thinks these tactics would work on Senator Collins obviously doesn't know her. This crowdedfunded money to pressure her is based on a quid pro quo -- you vote the way we want and we will keep more than a million dollars away from your opponent -- vote against us and we give her the money. It is basically a bribe. Senator Collins will make up her mind based on the merits of the nomination. Threats or other attempts to bully her will not play a factor in her decision making whatsoever."

While Murkowski and Collins as well as three red state Democrats -- Heitkamp, Donnelly and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia -- voted to advance Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first Supreme Court pick, the pressure from the liberal base has only intensified with Kavanaugh's nomination.

If all Republicans vote for Kavanaugh, they can clear him without Democrat support.

It's not clear when the closely-watched bipartisan groups of senators will announce their decisions. It's possible the Democrats, if any are going to support Kavanaugh, would hold off until after the Republicans announce they are backing him, so to avoid being tagged as the deciding vote in his favor and potentially angering liberal voters.

Huntsville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Florence
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Fayetteville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Decatur
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 90890

Reported Deaths: 1611
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 110636

Reported Deaths: 1092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby21492288
Davidson19400202
Rutherford607253
Hamilton566147
Knox403236
Williamson326922
Sumner317870
Unassigned29544
Out of TN278314
Wilson207221
Montgomery173411
Bradley171310
Sevier17135
Trousdale15726
Putnam154413
Robertson145017
Hamblen122913
Blount11207
Tipton11069
Maury10815
Washington10662
Madison91213
Bedford87110
Macon83213
Sullivan8069
Hardeman80111
Lake7490
Bledsoe6721
Loudon6533
Fayette6208
Anderson6075
Dickson5951
Gibson5672
Dyer5557
Cheatham5485
Rhea5021
Jefferson4962
McMinn48920
Lawrence4786
Obion4354
Henderson4310
Carter4275
Lauderdale4236
Coffee4172
Warren4034
Hardin4017
Cocke4001
Cumberland3796
Haywood3745
Greene3715
Monroe3669
Roane3642
Smith3633
Hawkins3624
Giles3519
McNairy3165
DeKalb3051
Franklin2864
Weakley2763
Marshall2652
Lincoln2541
Hickman2310
Carroll2283
Crockett2263
Claiborne2210
Henry2160
Wayne2161
Campbell2131
Marion2054
White1943
Chester1932
Johnson1720
Grainger1690
Polk1651
Decatur1612
Unicoi1380
Overton1341
Union1200
Cannon1180
Jackson1061
Humphreys1053
Scott1040
Grundy1012
Meigs980
Benton971
Sequatchie940
Morgan821
Hancock761
Fentress740
Perry740
Stewart700
Clay610
Lewis561
Houston550
Moore450
Van Buren330
Pickett221

Community Events