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Here’s where the 5 crucial swing senators stand on Kavanaugh

Lisa Murkowski has signaled her opposition, while Jeff Flake has said he plans to vote in favor.

From left, Sens. Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins
Alex Wong and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Li Zhou is a politics reporter at Vox, where she covers Congress and elections. Previously, she was a tech policy reporter at Politico and an editorial fellow at the Atlantic.

All five senators considered to be swing votes against Kavanaugh have now apparently made up their minds. And enough of them have said they support him that his nomination will likely pass.

By late in the week, all eyes were on Republican Sens. Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, as well as Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin. Given Republicans’ razor-thin 51-49 majority in the Senate, their collective votes would likely be the deciding factor in whether or not Kavanaugh is ultimately confirmed to the Supreme Court.

As of Friday afternoon, all five of them have now indicated how they’d vote: Heitkamp will oppose Kavanaugh and Murkowski appears likely to do so as well, while Flake, Collins and Manchin have signaled that they will vote in favor.

Here’s what each of them have said so far.

  • Susan Collins: Collins announced in a Friday afternoon floor speech that she will be supporting Kavanaugh. She had signaled as much on Thursday when she expressed confidence in the FBI report on sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.

“It appears to be a very thorough investigation, but I’m going back later to personally read the interviews,” Collins told reporters about the FBI report on Thursday. Later in the day, Collins reiterated the sentiment, noting “I’ve not yet finished going through all the materials,” according to CNN’s Manu Raju.

  • Jeff Flake: Flake said on Friday that he intends to vote in support of Kavanaugh unless things change ahead of a floor vote. He told reporters it was a tough decision, according to NBC News’ Alex Moe. Flake also echoed Collins in his reaction toward the FBI report.

“I think Susan Collins was quoted saying it was very thorough but no new corroborative information came out of it. That’s accurate,” Flake told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday. “I wanted this pause; we’ve had this pause. We’ve had the professionals, the FBI, determine — given the scope that we gave them, current credible allegations — to go and do their review, which they’ve done.” Flake was at the forefront of calls for a one-week delay on a Kavanaugh vote, which would enable the FBI to conduct an investigation. He voted in favor of limiting debate on the nomination and advancing Kavanaugh to a floor vote on Friday.

  • Lisa Murkowski: In a surprising turn, Murkowski voted against limiting debate on the nomination and advancing Kavanaugh to a floor vote on Friday. This vote is likely indicative of how she ultimately plans to vote on Kavanaugh. She appeared to spell this out more plainly to reporters after the vote. “I believe Brett Kavanaugh is a good man,” she said. “It just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time.”

Previously, Murkowski had held her cards a bit closer to the chest, noting that she was still working on reading the entirety of the FBI report herself. “I’m not wasting any daylight here,” she said on Thursday. She did add, however, that she agreed with an assessment Collins had previously made that Kavanaugh was not likely to overturn Roe v. Wade.

  • Heidi Heitkamp: Amid all the furor surrounding the FBI report on Thursday, Heitkamp — who crossed party lines to back Neil Gorsuch — announced that she will be voting against Kavanaugh citing concerns tied to the sexual misconduct allegations as well as his temperament. “Dr. Ford had nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming forward with her deeply personal story,” Heitkamp wrote in a statement outlining her decision. Heitkamp voted against limiting debate on the nomination and advancing Kavanaugh to a floor vote on Friday.
  • Joe Manchin: Manchin announced that he will also be backing Kavanaugh, shortly after Collins made her Friday floor speech. He has previously praised the accomplishments that Kavanaugh has made during his adult life and suggested that the hearing last week could offer him an opportunity to “clear his name.”

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