Judge Kavanaugh's Confirmation: Senate Democrats to Watch

With the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh a little less than a month out - week of September 4th - political pundits are already putting out lists for possible Democrat Senators to keep an eye out for as possible swing votes. Here are a few to keep an eye on:

The Democrat Senators that supported Justice Gorsuch (Manchin, Heitkamp, & Donnelly):

Senator Manchin of West Virginia was the first to break ranks with his caucus to sit down with Judge Kavanaugh at the beginning of this month:

[Senator] Manchin bucked his party and announced he would meet with Judge Kavanaugh. Mr. Manchin is also one of a handful of Senate Democrats who have expressed openness to supporting Judge Kavanaugh despite a fierce campaign from progressive activists urging the Senate to reject Mr. Trump’s nominee...

Senator Manchin also cautioned fellow Democratic senators that all too quickly rejected Judge Kavanaugh's nomination mere moments after his formal announcement:

“I think it’s irresponsible to announce your position minutes after the nominee is announced,” Mr. Manchin said in a statement after the meeting. “I will not make a final decision on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination until I complete a thorough and fair examination of his candidacy.”

As for Senator Heitkamp of North Dakota and Senator Donnelly of Indiana, they have largely been quiet on how they plan to vote.

Wildcard Democrats (Nelson, McCaskill, & Jones):

Senator Nelson from Florida is currently in the midst of a very tough re-election in a state that President Trump won in 2016. He recently appeared to back down from his initial opposition of Judge Kavanaugh, although as yet to declare how he plans to vote.

Senator McCaskill of Missouri, similarly, has yet to announce how she plans to vote but looks forward to reviewing Judge Kavanaugh's record.

A recent Fox News article suggested Senator Jones, from Alabama, could become one of these swing vote senators:

But one of the Senate’s newest members is emerging as a possible fourth Democratic vote who could consider backing President Trump’s high court pick in the end... Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, who was elected to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat in December, represents a state that voted for Trump by over 62 percent. This alone has made Jones somewhat of a wild card in the Democratic caucus.

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