State Sen. Jeff Van Drew said he wouldn’t vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh were he a member of the U.S. Senate, citing the nominee’s behavior and temperament during last Thursday’s confirmation hearings.
“Some of the partisanship that came out – and it was on both sides, but he’s the one trying to be Supreme Court judge – concerned me greatly,” Van Drew said. “If I was there I don’t believe I would be voting for him, but everybody has to speak for themselves. I’m not running for United States Senate.”
During the hearing, Kavanaugh railed against what he saw as a “calculated and orchestrated political hit” by Democrats upset that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to now-President Donald Trump.
“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”
That statement, as well as Kavanaugh’s frequent interruptions of Democratic senators, later led Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is leaving Congress in January, to question whether the incident ought to preclude Kavanaugh from a spot on the highest court in the land.
Flake, who voted to approve Kavanaugh’s nomination in committee once Republican leaders agreed to reopen for a week the FBI’s background check of Kavanaugh to investigate the sexual assault allegations leveled against the nominee, is seen as a likely swing vote when Kavanaugh gets his final confirmation after the FBI probe concludes later this week.
“The interaction with the members was sharp and partisan and that concerns me, and I tell myself, ‘You give a little leeway because of what he’s been through.’ But, on the other hand, we can’t have this on the court. We simply can’t,” Flake said, though he later said those comments did not refer to Kavanaugh.
Van Drew’s stance on the nominee is a break from his opponent’s, as well as from many Democrats, who have largely focused on the sexual assault allegations leveled against Kavanaugh by Deborah Ramirez and Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday.
Seth Grossman, the district’s Republican candidate, has nothing short of full-throated support for Kavanaugh, and he attacked the right-of-center Democrat for lacking the same on Tuesday.
“That’s why when some reporters are shocked I’m saying the new Jeff Van Drew is 100% for the radical left agenda of obstructing President Trump and resisting and disrupting and obstructing in every way, that’s just more concrete evidence of that,” Grossman said. “So I guarantee you, whoever president Trump proposed for any Supreme Court position, Jeff Van Drew would find some reason to oppose.”