Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) jumped party lines Friday during a procedural vote for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
In a 51-49 vote, Manchin and Murkowski both went against their parties for Kavanaugh’s nomination, with Manchin voting for and Murkowski voting against.
Both of them are considered undecided swing votes in the confirmation along with Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Both of them voted to end the debate proceedings.
Manchin is currently running for re-election in a state that provided President Donald Trump a double digit win in 2016. Murkowski is not up for re-election until 2022, so her vote factors less into her ability to win another term.
Murkowski told NBC News that the cloture vote was “a mistake.”
“We’ll see what happens tomorrow,” she said.
Murkowski has faced mounting pressure from her home state of Alaska, with many liberal and women’s rights groups clogging Capitol Hill hallways and filling Alaskan airwaves with advertisements to crank up the pressure on Murkowski. Alaska Native groups have rallied outside her home-state offices.
Murkowski’s defection could spell disaster for the Republican party.
The announcement that Steve Daines (R-Mont.) may be absent from the vote due to his daughter’s wedding provides another hurdle for the Republicans. Though he has said he intends to be there for the vote, the Democrats would only need one senator to flip should Daines not show.
However, Manchin has given no indication on which way he’ll go.
The final vote could be scheduled as early as Saturday afternoon.