With mass protests on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon and a procedural vote set for Friday, North Dakota's Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp has declared she is a firm "no" on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, leaving Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) as the last remaining Democrat still on the fence against the historically unpopular and controversial Supreme Court nominee.
"The process has been bad but at the end of the day you have to make a decision and I have made that decision," Heitkamp told local radio station WDAY radio in Fargo, North Dakota. "I will be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh."
In addition to the intensified focus it puts on Manchin's decision, Heitkamp's announcement also puts heightened pressure on the three key Republicans: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Jeff Flake of Arizona – all three of whom have expressed reservations about Kavanaugh and all three facing increased protests from their own consituents and the broader American public.
Kavanaugh's fate comes down to 5 senators. Here's where they are, as of a few minutes ago:
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) October 4, 2018
In her comments, Heitkamp said that last week's testimony by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and the outpouring of women's voices since, was a serious consideration in her final decision.
"When I listened to Dr. Ford testify, I heard the voices of women I have known throughout my life who have similar stories of sexual assault and abuse," Heitkamp said. "Our actions right now are a poignant signal to young girls and women across our country. I will continue to stand up for them."
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 4, 2018
News of Heitkamp's "no" came as West Virginian voters maintained an ongoing occupation of Manchin's office in the U.S. Senate Building:
HEITKAMP VOTNG NO!!!!! Waiting in Manchin’s office now pic.twitter.com/wb7wDoLEFs
— kayla wilson (@hello_kayla_) October 4, 2018
While both Collins and Flake indicated their satisfaction with the report generated by the FBI and handed over for senator's to review on Thursday, they—along with Murkowski—remain the target of protesters who have vowed not to give up until Kavanaugh's confirmation is defeated:
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) October 4, 2018
— NAPAWF (@NAPAWF) October 4, 2018
Thousands of Americans join at the Supreme Court led by @womensmarch and sexual assault survivors to protest Kavanaugh nomination — ME & AK & AZ women & men call on @SenatorCollins @lisamurkowski @JeffFlake to believe survivors and vote NO. pic.twitter.com/9ZwXNBPAv5
— Michael Kink (@mkink) October 4, 2018
So true! Cause how do @SenatorCollins @lisamurkowski @Sen_JoeManchin @JeffFlake sell out America and women and look yourself in the mirror for the rest of your life! U will be labeled the 4 that sold out American Women!! https://t.co/93NuQDr2af
— John Leguizamo (@JohnLeguizamo) October 4, 2018
Every Democratic Senator must be on the record as “no" - & it's unacceptable that waffling Senate Republicans like Flake, Collins, & Murkowski have claimed to be satisfied by this sham investigation. They must listen to their constituents, who want them to #StopKavanaugh.
— Indivisible Guide (@IndivisibleTeam) October 4, 2018