Donnelly becomes third Democrat to back Gorsuch

Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyWatchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' Mattis responds to Trump criticism: 'I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals' Democrats vow to push for repeal of other Trump rules after loss on power plant rollback MORE (D-N.Y.) said he will lead the fight in resisting Gorsuch.

Democrats, still reeling after former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaClinton suggests Russia grooming Gabbard to run as third-party 2020 candidate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington mourns loss of Elijah Cummings Obama: Cummings showed us 'the importance of checks and balances' 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 — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule Senate Dems lose forced vote against EPA power plant rule Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever 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.