WASHINGTON (AP) Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine declared Friday she will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaughs Supreme Court nomination, all but ensuring that a deeply riven Senate will elevate the conservative jurist to the nations highest court despite allegations that he sexually assaulted women decades ago.
The dramatic Senate floor announcement by perhaps the chambers most moderate Republican ended the suspense over a tortuous, election-season battle that had left Kavanaughs fate in doubt for nearly a month after the first accusation against him. It assured a victory for President Donald Trumps quest to move the Supreme Court rightward, perhaps for decades, and a satisfying win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the GOPs conservative base.
Moments after Collins finished talking, the only remaining undeclared lawmaker, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said he, too, would vote yes in the showdown confirmation roll call expected this afternoon. Manchin, the only Democrat supporting Kavanaugh, faces a competitive re-election race next month in a state Trump carried in 2016 by 42 percentage points.