Donnelly to vote 'no' on Kavanaugh

Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyConservatives spark threat of bloody GOP primaries Anti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers MORE (Ind.), one of only three Democrats who voted for Neil Gorsuch, President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE’s first Supreme Court nominee, says he will oppose Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second pick to the high court.

Donnelly, who faces a tough reelection in a state that Trump carried by double digits in 2016, was considered one of the Democrats most likely to back Kavanaugh, whose nomination has become consumed by allegations of sexual misconduct.

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“I have deep reservations about Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to this lifetime position and, as I stated, we have been unable to get all the information necessary regarding this nomination, despite my best efforts. Only 113 people have ever served on the Supreme Court, and I believe that we must do our level best to protect its sanctity,” Donnelly said in a statement Friday morning.

Donnelly's Republican opponent, businessman Mike Braun, immediately attacked his decision, calling it "a grave mistake." 

Braun declared the move “proves he is more concerned with standing with his liberal Democrat leaders than standing for Hoosiers."

"I continue to strongly support Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court," he added.

Braun accused Democrats of creating "a media circus designed to smear and destroy Judge Kavanaugh's reputation." 

His announcement leaves only a few Democrats undecided: Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinRepublicans, Trump Jr. signal support for embattled West Virginia governor Critics say Interior's top lawyer came 'close to perjury' during Hill testimony The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump takes heat for remarks on help from foreign governments MORE (W.Va.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterVA chief pressed on efforts to prevent veteran suicides Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Democrats aim to block defense money from being used on Trump border wall MORE (Mont.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampLobbying World Pro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA On The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight MORE (N.D.), all of whom also face challenging reelection fights in states Trump easily carried. 

Donnelly said he did not have enough information to assess Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party, as she described in emotional testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

“My job as a Senator is to gather as much information as I can to make the best-informed decision. The allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh are disturbing and credible. In the interest of getting as much information as possible, I believe the allegations should be investigated by the FBI,” he said.

Donnelly coming out in opposition, despite representing a state that Trump won by nearly 20 points, will put pressure on other Democrats to do the same.

—Updated at 12:18 p.m.