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Kavanaugh foes pressure Collins over Supreme Court vote

October 1, 2018

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Opponents of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh showed up Monday at Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ office once again, vowing she would pay a political price if she votes for him.

Collins is one of a handful of moderate senators who have not said how they would vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“If he is on the bench, we’re done,” Theressa Harrigan, a professor and retired attorney, told Collins’ staff on Monday. “They can come up with another nominee. Not this man.”

It was the latest in a series of demonstrations at Collins’ offices. Demonstrators also held a sit-in Friday in Portland. On the same day, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor and the FBI launched an investigation into claims against him. Collins said she supports the investigation but hasn’t said whether she supports Kavanaugh.

Collins “advocated for the additional background investigation because she believed that it could help the Senators evaluate the claims that have been brought to the Judiciary Committee,” said Annie Clark, a spokeswoman for the senator. That includes allegations made by Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge of excessive drinking and inappropriate treatment of women, Clark said.

Collins’ office also said she has met with hundreds of Maine residents on the Kavanaugh issue. On Friday, when demonstrators gathered at her Portland office, Collins met with five sexual assault victims in Washington, her office said.

Around the state, many women are losing patience.

“It’s like a bad dream, and it gets worse every day,” said Cindy Noyes, a registered Republican who went to school with Collins in northern Maine.

She said Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school, was “totally 100 percent believable” and that the nominee “just irritated me” during last week’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Those who oppose Kavanaugh have spent plenty of time at Collins’ offices in Portland, Bangor and in Washington, D.C., where several people were arrested last week. Over the weekend, a handful of protesters stood outside her home in Bangor.

On Monday, Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill of HopeGateWay in Portland was among about 30 protesters who came to Collins’ office to send a message that Kavanaugh is “not judicial by any means” and shouldn’t be confirmed.

“If he lies about the small things, why would we have confidence that he wouldn’t lie about the big things?” he said.

In Caribou, Sandra Bouchard, an independent voter and Noyes’ sister, said she supported Kavanaugh’s nomination before he was facing sexual misconduct allegations. She said his testimony before the Judiciary Committee was unbecoming of someone who sits on the federal bench and found Ford credible.

“There’s enough to say that he’s not the best choice for a Supreme Court justice,” she said.

Maine’s other senator, independent Sen. Angus King, has already pledged to vote no. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is another member of Collins’ party who is still undecided. Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona, another possible swing vote, initially said he would vote in favor of Kavanaugh but then called for the FBI investigation.

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Associated Press writer David Sharp contributed to this report.

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