With a slim majority in the Senate, just 51-49, Republicans need every vote they can get on the confirmation of Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. If every Democrat votes no along with just one Republican, the vote will be tied.
Republicans just learned that they will have at least one no. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) made her announcement after voting against moving Kavanaugh’s nomination forward for a final vote on Saturday.
? Lisa Murkowski tells @frankthorp she changed her mind on how to vote *on the way in to the chamber* ?
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) October 5, 2018
After Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) appeared on 60 Minutes and said that his dissent on the Kavanaugh vote last week would be impossible if he were running for reelection thanks to the extreme partisan divide in Congress and among voters, it seemed as if no GOP lawmaker would be willing to make a stand. Flake once again voted in lockstep with the Republican party despite his endless public rants against them, but Murkowski refused to do so.
In my lifetime, I have seen relatively few acts of political courage. In the last 24 hours, America witnessed two such acts. Thank you Senator @LisaMurkowski and Senator @SenatorHeitkamp. https://t.co/qIKSXLL3MU
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 5, 2018
According to POLITICO:
‘Most senators sat at their desk as the dramatic roll call unfolded, with major suspense over where Murkowski, Manchin and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) would land. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the first swing vote to support Kavanaugh on the procedural roll call, quickly followed by Flake. Murkowski then inaudibly voted no, a jarring defection that left Republicans with no room for error.’
— The Hill (@thehill) October 5, 2018
With Flake’s vote to move the confirmation forward, along with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the only previously undecided votes were Murkowski, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV). Heitkamp voted no while Manchin voted yes. Should the vote go exactly this way on Saturday, Kavanaugh will be confirmed.
Heidi Heitkamp and Lisa Murkowski won't get a fraction of the coverage Flake got for last week's pause, but they showed so much more courage than he has when it came time to vote. https://t.co/ojaEd7sidd
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) October 5, 2018
He will do so, however, without the vote of Murkowski, and Sen. Collins has not yet announced how she will vote on the final confirmation. Should Collins vote against Kavanaugh, Manchin will be the deciding vote, and it’s not likely that he’ll be a deciding yes vote. While he is a senator in a red state that voted for Trump in 2016, he’s also 12 points ahead of his Republican challenger in the polls.