Flake says he will vote to confirm Kavanaugh

GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong How to survive an impeachment Are Senate Republicans certain that Trump can return to office? MORE (Ariz.) said on Friday that he is supporting Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, giving Kavanaugh a significant boost as Republicans try to confirm him early next week.

“While some may argue that a different standard should apply regarding the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities, I believe that the Constitution’s provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well. I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” Flake said.

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Flake’s decision comes less than a day after an emotional, hours-long hearing where both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman accusing him of sexual assault, testified for hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Flake called her testimony “compelling” but said he still had doubts after the hearing.

“I wish that I could express the confidence that some of my colleagues have conveyed about what either did or did not happen in the early 1980s, but I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty,” he said.

It means Kavanaugh will get the support needed to be reported favorably by the panel, which is scheduled to hold a vote on the nomination on Friday morning.

Republicans hold a one-seat advantage on the committee. Flake was the only GOP vote in question in the wake of the Thursday hearing, after which he told reporters that was still trying to “chase down a few things.”

Flake’s announcement doesn’t guarantee that Kavanaugh will ultimately be confirmed. Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 margin in the Senate. Two other Republicans — moderate Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Energy: Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest| Democrats inch closer to issuing subpoenas for Interior, EPA records| Trump's plan to boost ethanol miffs corn groups and the fossil fuel industry Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest Democrats can lose Trump impeachment battle and still win electoral war MORE (Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump-GOP tensions over Syria show signs of easing Susan Collins raises .1 million in third quarter Poll: 50 percent of Maine voters disapprove of Susan Collins's job performance MORE (Maine) — remained undecided after the committee hearing.

"I am going to go home, have some dinner and have a chance to think about all that's gone on," Murkowski told reporters on Thursday night, asked how she was feeling about the hearing.

Republicans can lose one senator before they would need help from Democrats to confirm Kavanaugh.

No Democrat has yet to say they will support him, and several red-state Democrats considered potential "yes" votes are under a mountain of pressure after Ford's allegation of sexual assault, as well as two others, became public. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) became the latest Democrat to announce he would oppose Kavanaugh.

Red-state Democratic Sens. 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 (Ind.), 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) ManchinThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies Trump pushed for her ouster GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe Fallout from Kavanaugh confirmation felt in Washington one year later MORE (W.Va.) remain undecided.

Even if Flake had voted "no" and blocked Kavanaugh from winning a positive stamp of approval from the committee, GOP leadership had signaled they would use other procedural options to get Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor.

“I will be proud to vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh when the full Senate votes on his nomination in the coming days,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump-GOP tensions over Syria show signs of easing Trump again vetoes resolution blocking national emergency for border wall Trump invites congressional leaders to meeting on Turkey MORE (R-Ky.) said on Thursday night even as Republicans remained short of the votes needed to confirm Kavanaugh.