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Republican Senate candidate Vukmir defends Kavanaugh

September 24, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir came out strongly in support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Monday as he faces a second allegation of sexual misconduct, accusing Democrats of “last-minute character assassination.”

Vukmir’s position is a stark shift from last week when she called the first allegation of sexual assault “serious” and said the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, and Kavanaugh should both have a chance to testify.

“What has become clear is that the Far Left is engaged in an all-out, no-holds-barred, last-minute character assassination, rather than responsibly vetting and filling a seat on the Supreme Court,” Vukmir said in her latest statement. “Democrats need to stop the political posturing, and hold a vote this week on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”

Vukmir’s comments are in line with President Donald Trump, who on Monday pledged his support to Kavanaugh and said the sexual misconduct allegations against his Supreme Court pick are “totally political.” Kavanaugh on Monday refused to step aside and, like Vukmir, called the allegations against him “character assassination.” Other Republican senators have stood by Kavanaugh even as Democratic leaders have called for the nomination process to be put on hold.

Vukmir’s comments mark a break not just with what she said herself last week but other Wisconsin Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Gov. Scott Walker, who have been more measured in saying they wanted to hear from Ford and Kavanaugh.

Neither Walker nor Johnson immediately returned messages Monday after a second woman came forward against Kavanaugh.

Ford is slated to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday about her claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. A second woman, Deborah Ramirez, has told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when he was in college. Kavanaugh denies both allegations.

Vukmir, Walker and Johnson have all supported Kavanaugh’s nomination. Vukmir’s opponent in the Senate race, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, opposes Kavanaugh and on Monday renewed her call for the FBI to reopen its background investigation.

“I still don’t understand why the White House has refused to reopen the background investigation, but now that there are more allegations ... it seems like the call should be stronger than ever to reopen that,” Baldwin said at a Milwaukee news conference to promote early voting.

Vukmir, during an interview on “The Mark Belling Show” on WISN-AM in Milwaukee, blamed Democrats for what she called a “completely unfair process” for Kavanaugh that she said is denying him due process rights.

“We all know this is what the left does,” Vukmir said. “When they can’t win elections, they will do whatever they can to delay in other ways.”

She called the allegations against Kavanaugh “outrageous” and “very flimsy.” Vukmir called for the hearing to proceed Thursday with a vote as soon as possible.

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Associated Press writer Ivan Moreno contributed from Milwaukee.

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