As the FBI released its expanded probe into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, five senators — two Democrats and three Republicans — remained publicly undecided on his confirmation amid claims of sexual misconduct.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., was the first to reveal her intentions, telling a reporter on Thursday that she would vote against Kavanaugh.
“I will be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh,” she said.
If at least two of the remaining undecided senators vote to confirm Kavanaugh, he will have the support of half of the body with a tiebreaker vote cast by Vice President Mike Pence.
Heitkamp cited the compelling testimony of Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, in helping her reach her decision.
“When I listened to Dr. Ford testify, I heard the voices of women I have known throughout my life who have similar stories of sexual assault and abuse,” she said.
“Countless North Dakotans and others close to me have since reached out and told me their stories of being raped or sexually assaulted — and expressed the same anguish and fear. I’m in awe of their courage, too. Some of them reported their abuse at the time, but others said nothing until now. Survivors should be respected for having the strength to share what happened to them — even if a generation has since passed. They still feel the scars and suffer the trauma of abuse.”
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations against him.