Senator Heidi Heitkamp To Vote No On Kavanaugh — It’s Now 48-47

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U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) announced Thursday that she’s going to vote no on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, leaving five undecided senators with Kavanaugh still two short of the number he needs for confirmation.

Heitkamp had been considered a possible yes vote since she is running for re-election in a state that President Donald Trump won 64-28 in 2016.

As a political calculus, she may have decided she can’t win her race. A Fox News poll released this week has her down 12 points to Republican challenger Kevin Cramer, with 33 days to go until the November election.

Her statement on Kavanaugh makes it clear that voting no is what she prefers personally, irrespective of the effect on her political viability.

She distinguished between now-Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom she voted for last year, and Kavanaugh, keying in on temperament.

She also said that Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, sounded credible to her, even without corroboration of her testimony stating that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982 when both were teen-agers.

Heitkamp cited Kavanaugh’s “current temperament, honesty, and impartiality,” referring to his fiery self-defense last week.

“We need to take politics out of the Supreme Court as much as possible, and it takes Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, the administration, and individuals around the country to help make that possible,” Heitkamp said in a statement on Twitter.

Heitkamp’s decision means 48 senators (all Republicans) are supporting Kavanaugh, 47 are opposing him (all Democrats). The remaining undecideds are Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia on the Democratic side; and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Susan Collins of Maine on the Republican side.

If two of the five vote yes on Kavanaugh, the judge will reach 50 votes, which would allow Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie and put him over the top.

Below is Heitkamp’s full statement: