The three Red State Democrat senators who voted to confirm Neal Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in 2017 commented Monday night on President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the country’s highest court.
All three–Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)–are up for re-election this fall in states President Trump won by double digits in 2016.
President Trump invited all three to attend Monday’s announcement of Kavanaugh as the pick in the East Room of the White House, but they all declined the invitation.
Heitkamp, who faces a tough re-election battle against Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) in North Dakota, which Trump won by 36 points, released this statement Monday night:
My statement on the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court: pic.twitter.com/ia1yOICT9P
— Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp) July 10, 2018
Manchin, who also faces a tough re-election battle against State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in West Virginia, which Trump won by 42 points, released this statement Monday night.
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) July 10, 2018
Donnelly said, “As I have said, part of my job as Senator includes thoroughly considering judicial nominations, including to the Supreme Court. I will take the same approach as I have previously for a Supreme Court vacancy. Following the president’s announcement, I will carefully review and consider the record and qualifications of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”
Donnelly met with President Trump at the White House on June 28, at the request of the president, and among the issues they discussed were the Supreme Court opening.
For those attempting to read the tea leaves in these statements, it is notable that only Manchin chose to include a specific policy concern–pre-existing conditions for health care coverage–in the post-announcement statement.
Thanks to Sen. Doug Jones’ (D-AL) upset victory over Republican Roy Moore in December’s special election in Alabama, the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate is even narrower now–51 to 49–than it was when Gorsuch was confirmed in 2017, when it was 52 to 48.
The continued absence of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his unlikely return to the U.S. Senate due to serious health issues reduces the current Republican advantage to 50 to 49.
The three Red State Democrats who supported Gorsuch, plus a Red State Democrat elected after the Gorsuch vote, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) are the focus of a new advertising campaign designed to influence them to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
“The conservative Judicial Crisis Network is set to launch a $1.4 million ad buy on behalf of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee,” the Associated Press reported late Monday night:
Trump is expected to reveal his pick at 9 p.m. Monday. When the announcement is made, the campaign will kick off. It will feature cable and digital advertising in states including Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia.
The campaign will include a biographical ad about the nominee.
The group started advertising after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. The new ad brings their total investment to $2.4 million. They will also launch a website with information on the nominee
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that a floor vote on the confirmation of Kavanaugh will be held in the Senate this fall.