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IN-Sen: Donnelly could be swing vote on SCOTUS pick as he and Braun are in ‘practical dead heat’

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-In.) could be the swing vote for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick as he and GOP Senate candidate Mike Braun are locked in a practical dead heat. Above, (from left) Sen. Joe Donnelly, President Donald Trump, and former State Rep. Mike Braun. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who is running for re-election, has been brought into the spotlight once again after President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday night.

Why could Donnelly be the swing vote for Kavanaugh?

Donnelly just was one of three Democratic senators who voted to confirm Trump's first Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, in 2017. Despite being a Democrat, Donnelly has voted with the president more than 50 percent of the time.

Donnelly met with Trump in June to discuss potential picks for the high court and is “believed to be one of this election year’s most vulnerable Democrats,” according to a May 9 report in the New York Times. In January, CNN noted that the Indiana Senate seat was one of 10 “most likely to flip in 2018.”

The senator said in a statement about the Kavanaugh nomination, WSCH-FM reported, "As I have said, part of my job as Senator includes thoroughly considering judicial nominations, including to the Supreme Court. I will take the same approach as I have previously for a Supreme Court vacancy. Following the president's announcement, I will carefully review and consider the record and qualifications of Judge Brett Kavanaugh."

According to WSCH, Indiana GOP Senate candidate Mike Braun, a Trump supporter, also weighed in on Trump's nominee.

"His credentials are impeccable," Braun said, "he has already served with distinction as an Appellate Judge on the prestigious Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia — and he will interpret the Constitution as written rather than legislate from the bench."

"I am sure Senator Donnelly will eventually say that he will vote for him, because it is an election year," Braun added. "But I can immediately say without hesitation that I would support this nomination and I hope the Senate moves quickly to confirm the President’s choice."

Where do the Senate candidates stand now?

A May Republican poll revealed that Donnelly might not be in as much trouble as some have predicted in the race.

A new poll has Donnelly and Braun in a "virtual tie."

According to a report by WIBC-FM, the new poll conducted by Survey Monkey/Axios gave Braun just a 2-point lead over Donnelly, 49-47, with just 4 percent undecided.

Also, the poll reported that Donnelly’s total approval rating was at 47 percent, while his disapproval rating was at 49 percent.

The poll surveyed more than 950 registered Indiana voters and was conducted between June 11 to July 2.

You can read more about both candidates here.

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