In the wake of Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, in which both Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his primary accuser — Christine Blasey Ford — delivered compelling testimony on their own behalf, attention has shifted to how certain key senators in important swing states will ultimately vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the high court.
The Daily Wire reported that Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, who is locked in a tight race against Republican challenger Mike Braun in a red state that President Donald Trump won handily in 2016, has already announced publicly that he will vote “No” on Kavanaugh when his nomination comes to the Senate floor.
Donnelly explained in a statement posted to social media that he has taken the “disturbing and credible” allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh quite seriously and stated that he felt that not enough information has been provided for him to make a “best-informed decision” on the nomination, of course casting blame for the lack of enough information on Senate Republicans and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I have deep reservations about Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to this lifetime position and, as I stated, we have been unable to get all the information necessary regarding this nomination, despite my best efforts. Only 113 people have ever served on the Supreme Court, and I believe that we must do our level best to protect its sanctity,” Donnelly said in the statement.
Read Joe's statement on the Kavanaugh nomination: pic.twitter.com/JvjTOKEDyF
— Archive: Senator Joe Donnelly (@SenDonnelly) September 28, 2018
“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,” he added.
The comments on Donnelly’s post were largely supportive of his decision to oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but there were also quite a few people who expressed their great displeasure at the choice he had made, and more than a few of those voiced their intent to vote him out of office in November.
Those Indiana voters who won’t be supporting Donnelly’s re-election effort will most likely be throwing their support behind Braun, who issued a statement of his own following Donnelly’s that said the senator had made a “grave mistake” in announcing his opposition to Kavanaugh.
In the statement shared on Twitter by a reporter for The Associated Press, Braun said, “This entire process has been an embarrassment to our democracy as Hoosiers watched firsthand how Senator Donnelly’s liberal colleagues used uncorroborated allegations to create a media circus designed to smear and destroy Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation.”
“Donnelly’s decision to oppose President Trump’s highly qualified nominee is a grave mistake, but proves he is more concerned with standing with his liberal Democrat leaders than standing with Hoosiers,” he continued.
“I continue to strongly support Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.”
Donnelly's R challenger is quick out of the gate pic.twitter.com/LPaUMu3tnF
— Nick Riccardi (@NickRiccardi) September 28, 2018
As noted, Donnelly is already facing a rather tough midterm fight against Braun, who has the strong support of both Vice President Mike Pence — formerly a U.S. representative and governor of the state — and President Trump, who won the state in 2016 by a double-digit margin.
The Indianapolis Star reported on a recent Ipsos poll that showed the race between Braun and Donnelly was essentially a toss-up, as the senator was clinging to a slim three-point lead over his challenger — 46 to 43 percent — in the poll that had a 2.5 percent margin of error.
The Star noted that adding a bit more confusion to the race was the fact that an NBC poll had Donnelly up by six points — 49 to 43 percent — while a Fox News poll had Braun up by two — 45 to 43 percent — and a libertarian candidate in the race was drawing upwards of three percentage points of support.
It obviously remains to be seen what, if any, impact Donnelly’s decision to oppose Kavanaugh will have on the race that will most likely come down to turnout on election day. However, it is a fairly safe bet that voters in a state where the president and his agenda — including judicial nominees — are more popular than in most other states, will be highly motivated to remove an obstructionist resister in the Senate from office in November.
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