Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is among several red-state Democratic senators who are facing pressure from both parties over their coming votes on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
What's going on?
Vice President Mike Pence has already begun taking Kavanaugh to meet with senators. Manchin is expected to be in one of those meetings in the coming weeks, Pence told Talkline Radio host Hoppy Kercheval Tuesday.
“This will be a choice for Sen. Manchin, whether he’s going to stand with Chuck Schumer and liberals in Washington, D.C., who are prepared to oppose the most qualified, the most deserving nominee to the Supreme Court today, or whether he’s going to stand with the president’s nominee,” Pence said.
Manchin's Senate race challenger, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), said he expects Manchin will support Kavanaugh.
"I fully expect Sen. Joe Manchin to support Brett Kavanaugh, and here is why: Because at the end of the day, this is about his political survival," Morrisey said in a news release sent to TheBlaze. "I think he believes he must support Brett Kavanaugh, otherwise, he will be assuredly going down in defeat in November."
What does Manchin say?
Following President Donald Trump's announcement Monday night, Manchin issued the following statement:
As the Senator from West Virginia, I have a constitutional obligation to advise and consent on a nominee to fill Supreme Court vacancies and I take that responsibility seriously. Just as I did when Merrick Garland and Neil Gorsuch were nominated, I will evaluate Judge Kavanaugh’s record, legal qualifications, judicial philosophy and particularly, his views on healthcare.
The Supreme Court will ultimately decide if nearly 800,000 West Virginians with pre-existing conditions will lose their healthcare. This decision will directly impact almost 40% of my state, so I’m very interested in his position on protecting West Virginians with pre-existing conditions. As I have always said, I believe the Senate should hold committee hearings; Senators should meet with him, we should debate his qualifications on the Senate floor and cast whatever vote we believe he deserves. I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh, examining his rulings and making a determination of whether to provide my consent.
The Morrisey for Senate campaign launched an online petition calling on Manchin to support the president's nominee.
"West Virginians are tired of Sen. Manchin's spineless political calculation and pandering to liberal elites," Morrisey said in a news release. "West Virginia voters were clear in 2016 when they overwhelmingly elected President Trump by more than 40 points, and now they have an opportunity to remind Sen. Manchin to stand with our President and a highly-qualified Supreme Court nominee."
"Now is the time to send a clear message to Sen. Manchin: quit the pandering to liberal elites, stand with President Trump, and support the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court," the release added.