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Donnelly becomes third Democrat to back Gorsuch

Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Harris walks fine line on Barrett as election nears The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Showdown: Trump-Biden debate likely to be nasty MORE (D-Ind.) said Sunday that he will support the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, becoming the third moderate Democrat to break with his party and back President Trump’s nominee.

“After meeting with Judge Gorsuch, conducting a thorough review of his record, and closely following his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe that he is a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers,” Donnelly said in a statement.

Donnelly said the Senate should keep its 60-vote requirement for breaking a filibuster on Supreme Court nominees in place, a reference to Republicans suggesting they may resort to the “nuclear” option. 

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Republicans, vowing to confirm Gorsuch “one way or another,” have indicated, however, they may alter the Senate rules so that ending debate on Gorsuch would only need a 51-vote simple majority. They currently hold a 52-person majority in the upper chamber and would need five additional Democrats or Independents to back Gorsuch if the rules are not changed.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerGraham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Lewandowski: Trump 'wants to see every Republican reelected regardless of ... if they break with the president' Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  MORE (D-N.Y.) said he will lead the fight in resisting Gorsuch.

Democrats, still reeling after former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama gives Twitter shoutouts to early voters facing challenges: 'You're an inspiration to all of us' Obama highlights Biden's tweet from a year ago warning Trump wasn't ready for pandemic Why childcare must be a priority to restart the economy MORE’s nominee to the court was blocked by Republicans from getting a hearing or a vote last year, have largely come out against Gorsuch. Thirty-eight Democrats have said they will oppose his nomination.

Democratic Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Showdown: Trump-Biden debate likely to be nasty Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 Harris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  Susan Collins and the American legacy Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (W.Va.) last week announced they will support Gorsuch's nomination.

Donnelly, like the other two Democrats, is up for re-election in 2018 in a state Trump won by a significant margin during the 2016 presidential election.

Trump won Indiana by 19 points, West Virginia by more than 40 points and North Dakota by 35 points.

--This report was updated at 2:11 p.m.