Fifth GOP senator says he’ll back AG nominee

Fifth GOP senator says he’ll back AG nominee
© Greg Nash

A fifth Republican senator is throwing his support behind attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch, seemingly giving the New York prosecutor the necessary votes for confirmation.

Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkThe global reality behind 'local' problems Dems vow swift action on gun reform next year This week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill MORE (R-Ill.), who is up for reelection in 2016, announced Thursday he will vote to confirm Lynch, even though the majority of Republicans are expected to vote against President Obama’s pick to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump steps up attacks on McCain Court-packing becomes new litmus test on left Press: Which way do Dems go in 2020? MORE.

“I am confident from my conversation with Loretta Lynch that she will be a valuable partner in confronting the gang violence that is robbing families of their children every day in Chicago,” Kirk said in a statement. "We need the help of the Attorney General to fight gangs of national significance through federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, and to address organized crime like drug and child sex trafficking.”

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Many Republicans are critical of Lynch’s support for Obama’s controversial immigration policies.

But Kirk’s ringing endorsement gives Lynch at least five Republican supporters, which should be enough for her to be confirmed. Kirk is a top Democratic target in 2016, and he will need a lot of Democratic support to win a second term in the upper chamber.

The other Republican senators who have indicated they will vote for Lynch include Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchNY's political prosecution of Manafort should scare us all Congress must break its addiction to unjust tax extenders The FDA crackdown on dietary supplements is inadequate MORE (Utah), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump keeps tight grip on GOP McSally to back Trump on emergency declaration Flake: Biden 'strikes fear in a lot of Republicans' MORE (Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Dems want to abolish Electoral College because they 'want rural America to go away' Overwhelming majority of voters want final Mueller report released: poll Bottom Line MORE (S.C.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump MORE (Maine).

Meanwhile, Lynch enjoys seemingly universal support from Democrats. Assuming every senator from the president’s party — and the two independents, Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAlan Dershowitz: In defense of Chelsea Clinton O'Rourke: Decisions on late-term abortions 'best left to a woman and her doctor' CNN to host town hall with Cory Booker in South Carolina MORE (Vt.) and Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget Shanahan grilled on Pentagon's border wall funding Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law MORE (Maine) — votes for Lynch, she only needs four Republican backers to win confirmation.

But the Justice Department’s indictment of Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Acting Defense chief calls Graham an 'ally' after tense exchange William Barr is right man for the times MORE (D-N.J.) could force Democrats to go searching for another Republican backer, were he to recuse himself from the vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms Court-packing becomes new litmus test on left MORE (R-Ky.) has delayed her vote over the last few weeks, but is expected to bring the matter up for a vote after the Senate returns from its recess later this month.