Politics

A key undecided Republican senator says he’ll vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

After listening to Christine Blasey Ford and and Kavanaugh testify Thursday, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake issued a statement ahead of a Judiciary Committee meeting saying he “left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty.”

“What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence. That is what binds us to the rule of law,” said Flake. “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.”

On his way to the committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, Flake was confronted by a woman who said she was the victim of sexual assault. Cable news cameras aired the confrontation live as the woman repeatedly told Flake that his vote made her think her voice and experience did not matter. “Don’t look away from me,” she said. “Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened.”

Flake did not respond to the woman in the moment.

His yes vote means Kavanaugh will likely be confirmed by the Judiciary Committee Friday. A procedural test vote is expected on the Senate floor Saturday, and Republican leaders’ goal is to hold a final Senate vote early next week.

Two key undecided Republican votes remain: Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Maine Senator Susan Collins. Democrat Joe Manchin is undecided, as well. Those three senators had huddled with Flake late Thursday, after the hearing. Manchin’s aide tweeted that he was still undecided.

In the hours after the hearing Thursday, one previously undecided Republican came out in support of Kavanaugh. Senator Bob Corker said in a statement that, “while both individuals provided compelling testimony, nothing that has been presented corroborates the allegation. There is no question that Judge Kavanaugh is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, and in a different political environment, he would be confirmed overwhelmingly.”