UPDATE: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announces she will be voting to confirm Kavanaugh. With Manchin voting to confirm, that's the ball game.
Collins to vote yes on Kavanaugh— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) October 5, 2018
Manchin to back Kavanaugh.— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) October 5, 2018
NEW: Dem Sen Joe Manchin to back Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation pic.twitter.com/IZTTwKff8G— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) October 5, 2018
Well, unless something big happens, it looks like Judge Brett Kavanaugh will be the next Associate Justice for the U.S. Supreme Court. The cloture vote, which was covered on our live blog, ended in success. It was a 51-49 vote. Now, 30 hours of speeches from both sides have begun. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) caused a bit of a heart attack when he said he would be out of D.C. for the weekend; his daughter is getting married on Saturday. He will walk her down the aisle but said transportation arrangements had been made. Daines became an accidental key vote due to his absence. This means the vote will remain open for a long time. Saturday could be a very long day, folks.
DAINES: told us that he head "transportation" ready that will get him to his daughter's wedding tomorrow if he is needed on tomorrow's vote.— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) October 5, 2018
LATEST Brett Kavanaugh whip count— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 5, 2018
Barring surprises, there are 49 ?? votes
TWO more ?? votes kills the nomination
And it seems that barring any cataclysmic news changes, the votes for today’s cloture vote will remain the same for the final vote—which means we have the votes. Out of the wild cards, Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Murkowski was the only “no” vote on cloture from this crew. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who has a history of being a vote whip, said that he doesn’t expect Murkowski or Manchin to change their votes.
THIS. BLUNT: told me he does not think Murkowski or Manchin's votes will change.— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) October 5, 2018
(Reminder again: he was the main GOP vote counter for the Republicans in the House at one time.)
This is very powerful. Murkowski calls Kavanaugh a good man, but not the right man https://t.co/A3TB6bHpVV— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) October 5, 2018
WHERE WE ARE: Kavanaugh will advance, but apparently Collins is reserving ability to vote differently on final confirmation tomorrow.— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) October 5, 2018
NOTE: collins is the senator who has done this the most - voting one way on procedural motions to open:/close debate and another on final motions
Manchin yes means @vp Pence does not need to break tie— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) October 5, 2018
Wow Manchin is a yes.— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) October 5, 2018
FLAKE AND COLLINS ARE BOTH YES.— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) October 5, 2018
Unless a surprise, Kavanaugh is on his way to confirmation.
(EVEN if Murkowski and Manchin are no. )
Dems yesterday almost completely turned away from the FBI report, which was something they demanded, and right back to well Kavanaugh yelled a lot or something.— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) October 5, 2018
?? Lisa Murkowski tells @frankthorp she changed her mind on how to vote *on the way in to the chamber* ??— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) October 5, 2018
He might have been a pain in this fight. He sided with Democrats in their push for another FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He was undecided for the longest time, but he voted for cloture today. As the 30 hours of debate counts down, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has made a decision: he’s voting yes.
It also seems Murkowski was probably a “yea” vote, but she changed her mind prior to entering the chamber.
So, are we in the clear? Well, we had the votes last Friday, according to a Senate insider who spoke with us, and then Flake decided to gum up the works by accommodating Democrats on their FBI request. When all sides agreed to the FBI investigation and the report was delivered, by no one’s surprise, Democrats dismissed the report. The delay tactics are over. The vote is happening, and again, barring any earth-shattering news, or Democrats getting their hands on Flake again, Kavanaugh looks likely to be seated on the Court.
This whole process was thrust into chaos when three women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations. All three claims are without evidence or corroborating witnesses, but the Left took their kill shot anyway. It wounded the nominee, his family, and his reputation. The damage done to Kavanaugh from this character assassination attempt will be long-lasting, but it seems the worst is over. He will likely be confirmed until all hours on Saturday. We’ll be here covering. In the meantime, it might be best for Republican leadership to hide Jeff Flake. Take him outside of D.C. for a few hours; take his cell phone away, and just hide him away from Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and the rest of the Democratic Party on the Hill. Maybe toss Collins and Manchin—they’re about to get blitzed as well.
UPDATE: As of now, Collins is a no vote, according to a Senate insider. There is time to change her vote, but prospects aren't good.
Sources familiar with Senate lobbying efforts tell me the WH believes @Sen_JoeManchin will vote to confirm Kavanaugh, but that @lisamurkowski will vote no. WH thinks @SenatorCollins and @JeffFlake are alson onboard. With @SteveDaines in Montana, that nets a 50-49 vote.— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) October 5, 2018
GOP leaders flatly do not know how the vote will go on confirmation, as one senator who just met with McConnell put it to me: "no one knows" and their "fingers are crossed" that Collins is a 'yes' pic.twitter.com/hSxTJJXzh5— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 5, 2018
I hope @SenatorCollins heard @marcorubio today. He said a "No" vote on #Kavanaugh would be logically interpreted as a presumption of guilt in the allegations made against him. And @SenatorCollins has way too much integrity to allow that to happen. She will do the honorable thing.— Larry O'Connor (@LarryOConnor) October 5, 2018