Gillibrand backs Manchin, Bredesen despite their support of Kavanaugh

Gillibrand backs Manchin, Bredesen despite their support of Kavanaugh
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense & National Security — Biden: US troops to Ukraine 'not on the table' Gillibrand slams committee leadership, Pentagon for military justice reform cuts Lawmakers reach compromise on annual defense policy bill MORE (D-N.Y.) is voicing support for the candidacies of Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPharma lobby eyes parliamentarian Demand for US workers reaches historic high Senate votes to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for businesses MORE (D-W.Va.) and Tennessee Senate hopeful Phil Bredesen despite their support of the confirmation of Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughConservative justices appear open to religious claim in Maine school case Budowsky: Pro-choice women can save Democrats in 2022 Trump considered withdrawing Kavanaugh nomination over beer comments, being 'too apologetic': Meadows book MORE to the Supreme Court.

Gillibrand, considered a possible 2020 White House contender, said Manchin, the lone Democratic senator to vote for Kavanaugh, has proven himself a valuable member of the caucus.

“The fact that Joe Manchin stood with us when we were defeating Trumpcare, when Trump wanted to allow insurers not to cover people with preexisting conditions, I was really very grateful that Joe Manchin was there. So I think you win some, you lose some, but to have someone with you there nine out of ten times makes a huge difference. And to have someone who shares your fundamental values also makes a huge difference,” Gillibrand told New York Magazine in an interview published Friday.

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Manchin is running for reelection in a state President TrumpDonald TrumpJury in Jussie Smollett trial begins deliberations Pence says he'll 'evaluate' any requests from Jan. 6 panel Biden's drug overdose strategy pushes treatment for some, prison for others MORE won by over 40 points in 2016, one of ten Senate Democrats defending seats in states Trump won.

FiveThirtyEight calculates that he votes with Trump about 60 percent of the time.

The Cook Political Report rates his race against West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey as “Lean D.” 

Gillibrand also voiced support for Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor who has taken criticism from the left for saying he would have voted for Kavanaugh if he were currently seated in the chamber. Bredesen is vying with Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnInstagram chief gets bipartisan grilling over harm to teens Senators to grill Instagram chief over platform's effect on children GOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' MORE (R-Tenn.) for the seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R).

"Well, if he was here in the Senate, I would have an opportunity to advocate for a No vote. So I would rather get him here and spend my time explaining why a No vote is a better vote for this moment in time," Gillibrand said.

The Kavanaugh confirmation process laid bare the bitter partisan divide within the Senate, particularly after three women went public with allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh when he was in high school and college. Kavanaugh denied the allegations, saying at a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that the accusations were planned “smears” as part of the Democrats’ “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” 

Democrats rushed to denounce him because of the allegations and what they believed to be a partisan tone in his defense. Republicans came to his defense after the FBI opened an investigation into the allegations and privately released a report to the Senate that the GOP said offered no corroborating evidence of any of the accusation.