While Senator Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) continues to publicly claim that he is undecided on how to vote on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Politico reported Tuesday that Democratic leadership has Jones “firmly in the ‘no’ column.”
Jones, from Kavanaugh’s nomination onwards, has promised that he would meet with the nominee privately after his confirmation hearing, which ended over two weeks ago. With a committee vote scheduled for Friday morning and a full vote by the Senate expected as soon as procedurally possible after that, Jones still has not met with Kavanaugh and has also not reportedly scheduled a meeting yet.
He has been on the front lines of Democratic calls to delay the confirmation process, and Politico’s reporting may shed light on his true motivation – not wanting to ever have to cast his already-determined “no” vote, with an eye on a reelection bid in 2020.
“Democratic leaders are confident of a unanimous ‘no’ vote against Kavanaugh from their caucus, especially if Ford comes off as credible, according to more than a half-dozen senators and aides,” Politico reported.
They added, “Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, Doug Jones of Alabama and Bill Nelson of Florida, all publicly undecided, are expected to be firmly in the ‘no’ column, those people said.”
In contrast, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) are viewed as true moderate swing votes.
“It’s somewhat surprising that Jones and Nelson remain publicly on the fence given that they have more liberal voting records than Manchin and Donnelly. Jones has tweeted repeatedly about the importance of a thorough investigation into Ford’s allegation, and said Tuesday that he also would wait until Thursday to announce his decision,” Politico explained.
Regarding Jones and Nelson, Politico added, “Democratic leaders are not concerned that either will vote for Kavanaugh, according to aides. And Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the No. 4 Democratic leader, said she likes the way the Democratic vote count is trending.”
“I feel good about it,” Stabenow said. “Overwhelmingly, people are voting no.”
Asked by Politico whether there are a half-dozen actually undecided senators, she replied: “Less, maybe.”