- Every Democratic senator who voted against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the nation’s highest court lost in their competitive reelection bids.
- Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court was called into question in October after several women publicly accused him of sexual assault.
- The Democratic senators who voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation then lost their seats during Tuesday’s midterm elections included Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Bill Nelson of Florida.
Several Democratic senators who lost their seats in Tuesday’s midterm elections had one thing in common – they all voted against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham called it “Kavanaugh’s Revenge” in a statement Tuesday morning.
“Virtually all Senate Democrats running in Trump states who voted against Brett Kavanaugh were defeated,” Graham said in the statement. “Their constituents held them responsible for being part of a despicable smear campaign orchestrated by the left. These Democrats showed more allegiance to the left than to their constituents who support qualified, conservative judges like Brett Kavanaugh.”
The wrangling over Kavanaugh’s confirmation hit a fever pitch in October when several women accused Kavanaugh of various forms of sexual misconduct.
The most prominent allegation came from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor who said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two of them were in high school in the 1980s. Kavanaugh, who was eventually confirmed to the nation’s highest court, denied her accusation in a fiery televised rebuttal.
Despite Kavanaugh’s denial, the FBI opened a weeklong investigation into the allegations. That investigation failed to bolster the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, and senators moved to hold a final vote on his confirmation.
A handful of senators were strongly opposed to Kavanaugh’s nomination, including Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Bill Nelson of Florida.
All of those senators lost their seats on Tuesday night.
Heitkamp said she decided to vote against Kavanaugh after witnessing his aggressive response to whether he had ever consumed alcohol to the point of losing consciousness.
“I saw somebody who was very angry, who was very nervous, and I saw rage that a lot of people said, ‘well of course you’re going to see rage, he’s being falsely accused,’ but it is at all times you’re to acquit yourself with a demeanour that’s becoming of the court,” Heitkamp said.
Donnelly said he voted against Kavanaugh after being swayed by Ford’s testimony.
“As I have made clear before, sexual assault has no place in our society,” Donnelly said in a prepared statement, cited by the Indianapolis Star. “When it does occur, we should listen to the survivors and work to ensure it never happens again.”
McCaskill said her decision to vote against Kavanaugh was not a result of the looming sexual assault allegations against him, but because of his view on executive powers amid the FBI investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.
“[My] decision is not based on those allegations but rather on his positions on several key issues, most importantly the avalanche of dark, anonymous money that is crushing our democracy,” McCaskill wrote in her prepared written statement, according to NPR. McCaskill added that she was “also uncomfortable about his view on presidential power as it relates to the rule of law, and his position that corporations are people.”
Nelson said he admired Ford’s bravery for testifying about about the troubling allegations before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“She was expressing for millions of women in this country … that sexual assault has happened to them,” Nelson said during a televised debate against his opponent, former Republican Gov. Rick Scott, cited by the Sun Sentinel. “She was doing that in front of 11 Republican men who seemed to dismiss it.”