Donnelly among those calling for Kavanaugh vote delay

September 17, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly said Monday that a planned vote should be postponed on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, until Congress has time to review recent sexual misconduct allegations made against him.

The Senate Judiciary committee was set for a Thursday vote. But a woman has come forward to say Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than 30 years ago when they were in high school.

Now Republicans and Democrats have called for more time to review the claims made by the woman, Christine Blasey Ford — allegations that Kavanaugh denies.

Blasey Ford has offered to testify. Donnelly said in a statement that he takes the situation seriously.

“The allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh are serious and merit further review,” he said. “Given the nature of these allegations, and the number of outstanding questions, I believe the Judiciary Committee should hold off on Thursday’s scheduled vote.”

Donnelly is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year. The campaign for his Republican rival, Mike Braun, did not respond to a request for comment on his support for Kavanaugh.

What remains unclear is what the misconduct claims against Kavanaugh mean for Donnelly — or other Democrats running for re-election in states, like Indiana, that Trump won.

For months now, Republicans have targeted Donnelly with attacks aimed at coercing him to support Kavanaugh’s nomination. Braun has also attacked Donnelly for refusing to say, thus far, whether he would vote in his favor.

The sexual misconduct allegations could anger suburban women, including those who vote Republican, which could benefit Donnelly.

At the same time, a protracted fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination could inflame partisan tension and energize the GOP’s base. That threatens to override Donnelly’s carefully constructed pitch to voters, which is focused on bipartisanship, temperament, local issues and his own record in the Senate.

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