Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., a key moderate Democrat who faces a tough re-election battle in her home state, will vote against Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.
"The process has been bad," she said in an interview with WDAY News in her home state. "But at the end of the day, you have to make a decision, and I've made that decision," Heitkamp said. "I will be voting 'no' on Judge Kavanaugh."
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Heitkamp was one of three Senate Democrats who voted to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last year, along with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.
“I voted for Justice Gorsuch because I felt his legal ability and temperament qualified him to serve on the Supreme Court.Judge Kavanaugh is different," Heitkamp said in a statement. "When considering a lifetime appointment to Supreme Court, we must evaluate the totality of the circumstances and record before us."
Heitkamp cited last Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee as a deciding factor on Kavanaugh, who during his appearance, passionately and sometimes angrily defended his character and vehemently denied all allegations of sexual assault.
"In addition to the concerns about his past conduct, last Thursday’s hearing called into question Judge Kavanaugh’s current temperament, honesty, and impartiality. These are critical traits for any nominee to serve on the highest court in our country," Heitkamp said.
By comparison, Heitkamp said the testimony of one of Kavanaugh's accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, was "heartfelt, credible, and persuasive testimony" and said hearing her story reminded her of "the voices of women I have known throughout my life who have similar stories of sexual assault and abuse."
Donnelly announced last week that he will oppose Kavanaugh's nomination. Manchin remains undecided on the Supreme Court nominee and is viewed by Republicans as the Democrat most likely to vote 'Yes'.
Like Manchin and Donnelly, Heitkamp is up for re-election and her seat is viewed as a prime pick-up opportunity for Republicans. According to a recent Fox News poll, Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., leads her by 12 points.