Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — Biden, Xi talk climate at UN forum Election reform in the states is not all doom and gloom Manchin presses Interior nominee on leasing program review MORE (W.Va.) announced Thursday that he will back Judge Neil Gorsuch, becoming the first Senate Democrat to throw their support behind President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
"I will vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court," Manchin tweeted.
I will vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/MpVbaqf0LB— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) March 30, 2017
Thirty-three Senate Democrats have come out against Gorsuch's nomination, according to The Hill's Whip List, with Republicans signaling that they are willing to change Senate rules to confirm him with a simple majority if eight Democrats don't back him.
But even before announcing his support, Manchin said he would vote to limit debate on Gorsuch and move his nomination forward, defying Senate Democratic leaders.
Manchin is up for reelection in 2018 in a state Trump won by double digits in November and is considered to be a vulnerable target for Republicans looking to expand their Senate majority.
Shortly after Manchin announced his position, Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWashington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill MORE (N.D.) became the second Democratic "yes" vote on Gorsuch.
I will vote for Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Here's my full statement: pic.twitter.com/pDdhde7mGF— Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp) March 30, 2017
She is up for re-election in 2018 in a state Trump won handily.
Other red-state Democrats facing potentially tough reelection bids — including Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect Giuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri MORE (Mo.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sanders traveling to Iowa, Indiana to pitch Biden's spending package Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (Ind.) — remain undecided on Gorsuch, and have not yet said whether they will join fellow Democrats in trying to filibuster the nominee.
— Updated at 5:01 p.m.