Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and might end up the only Democrat to do so.
“I have reservations about this vote given the serious accusations against Judge Kavanaugh and the temperament he displayed in the hearing. And my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any type of sexual assault in their life,” Manchin said in a statement.
“However, based on all of the information I have available to me, including the recently completed FBI report, I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him. I do hope that Judge Kavanaugh will not allow the partisan nature this process took to follow him onto the court,” Manchin added.
Manchin announced his decision moments after Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, virtually guaranteeing the federal circuit court judge’s ascent to the high court.
Manchin faced protesters shouting “shame, shame, shame,” when he returned to his Senate office after releasing his statement. Sources said there had been arrests made by the Capitol Police in that part of the Hart building earlier in the day.
Running for re-election in a state President Donald Trump carried by 42 points, Manchin started the year as a top target of Republicans, who are hoping to pick up his seat.
His GOP opponent, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, quickly attacked Manchin Friday, accusing him of deciding to support Kavanaugh only after the nominee had secured the necessary votes.
“Joe Manchin only votes in the interest of Joe Manchin. President Trump had all the votes he needed to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but Manchin waited — making a craven political calculation — in order to try to save his political career,” Morrisey said in a statement Friday afternoon.
“Spending months on the sideline, Manchin allowed Senate Democrats and the liberal media to orchestrate a resist and obstruct circus to smear President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Manchin owes West Virginia an apology for watching, doing nothing, as Democrats sought to destroy Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” Morrisey added.
Despite running in such a deep-red state, Manchin has maintained a lead in recent polling of the Senate race. He’s no. 7 on Roll Call’s rankings of the 10 most vulnerable senators, having dropped three spots over the last year. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates his re-election Tilts Democratic.