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Barring an FBI surprise, the Kavanaugh Vote Depends on 5 Senators



After a late summer and early fall spectacle, the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh moves to a Senate floor cloture vote this week--unless of course the current FBI checks turn up new information. So let's take a look at where the votes lie.


Today, based on reports and statements, we have 48 Republican "yes" votes and 47 Democrat "no" votes. This leaves 5 Senators who have stated they are undecided, or have been so quiet that no one knows what they are thinking. These Senators are:


Sen. Flake of Arizona, Republican, retiring.

Sen. Collins of Maine, Republican, next election is 2020.

Sen. Murkowski of Alaska, Republican, next election is 2022.

Sen. Manchin of West Virginia, Democrat, election next month.  (Support Sen. Manchin here, or support his opponent here.)

Sen. Heitkamp of North Dakota, Democrat, election next month.  (Support Sen. Heitkamp here, or support her opponent here.)


UPDATE OCTOBER 5TH: SEN. COLLINS SAYS SHE IS A YES VOTE,  Sens. Flake & Manchin also indicated they are yes votes.


Here's the basic math: with 48 (Republican) expected "yes" votes as of today, the Judge needs two of the five undecided Senators to vote his way, which would allow Vice President Pence to cast the official tie-breaker vote (barring a tie, the VP does not get a Senate floor vote otherwise.)  You can model your own expectations, but many observers think that barring any new FBI information, Sens. Flake and Manchin likely will vote "yes" for the Judge.  (Sen. Flake has pretty much said he will vote yes if nothing new comes, and Sen. Manchin's state of West Virginia is polling Kavanaugh's way. The President was speaking in West Virginia over the weekend to add pressure to Manchin's vote.)


Assuming the above happens, Sens. Collins and Murkowski, if they wanted to vote "no," could do so without pressure from the leadership, which would have already secured the Judge's nomination without needing their votes. (The corollary being of course that if Flake or Manchin voted "no," Republican leadership and the White House would lean heavily on either Collins or Murkowski to vote "yes.")


The remaining wild card is Sen. Heitkamp of North Dakota. No one has any idea where she will come down; the President won North Dakota by 68.5% to 26.5%, though Sen. Heitkamp has polled well lately and voters there have a history of not voting the straight party line.


So there's a rough sketch of how the vote might break down.  However, it's not gospel and you are free--of course!--to make your own predictions.  And remember: all of this presumes the FBI investigation does not reveal anything dramatically new.  Cause if it does...all bets are off.


AND if you have a different view, you can tell it below.

For more information on all 2018 races, see  Then click on your state on the map.