Kavanaugh confirmation: 1 key senator announces he’s voting yes but 3 still undecided

One of the key undecided senators announced Friday that he plans to vote in favor of Brett Kavanaugh‘s Supreme Court nomination.

Sen. Jeff Flake, the outgoing Republican from Arizona, said that he will vote for Kavanaugh on Saturday “unless something big changed. I don’t see what would.”

That leaves three of the four key senators — three Republicans and a red-state Democrat — undecided as to whether or not they will support Kavanaugh, whose appointment has been clouded by controversy because of sexual misconduct allegations.

He has denied the allegations.

There was speculation that Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp may break party lines and vote for Kavanaugh, but she announced Thursday that she would be voting against him.

Republicans currently hold a one-person edge in the Senate, with 51 of the Senate’s 100 seats; Democrats hold 47 seats and there are two independents who typically caucus with the Democrats.

That means if two Republicans break party lines and vote against President Donald Trump’s nominee, even the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence, who is the president of the Senate, wouldn’t be enough to approve his confirmation.

Similarly, if a Democrat flips and votes for Kavanaugh, it would all but ensure his nomination.

Flake and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., along with Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, have not revealed how they are going to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation but they may make that clear when they speak on the Senate floor Friday.

Here is what we know about where the four key votes stand.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine

Alex Brandon/AP
Sen. Susan Collins arrives to view the FBI report on sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Oct. 4, 2018.

She is often seen as a possible swing vote on controversial decisions, and she exerted that power during the Republican-backed, so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare. She, along with fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and then-Sen. John McCain, tipped the balance against the bill prompting its failure in July 2017.

That said, according to 538, she does vote in line with the Trump administration 79.2 percent of the time.

When it comes to the Kavanaugh vote, however, she is officially undecided.

She voted in favor of the cloture motion Friday morning, which put an end to debate on the topic, but said she would reveal her vote on the Kavanaugh question in an address to the Senate at 3 p.m.

On Thursday, she made a comment about the FBI investigation that some interpreted to mean that she may support Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“It appears to be a very thorough investigation, but I am going back later today to personally read the interviews. That’s really all I have to say right now,” she told reporters Thursday.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona

PHOTO: Sen. Jeff Flake walks with his wife, Cheryl, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 3, 2018.Erin Schaff/The New York Times via Redux
Sen. Jeff Flake walks with his wife, Cheryl, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 3, 2018.

He said Friday that he plans to vote in favor of Kavanaugh, adding that “this is a tough decision for everybody.”

There were earlier indicators that he was leaning that way.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Flake has already been the focus of a fair amount of speculation about the Kavanaugh vote.

He was seen as the swing vote in the committee, and after a tense face-off with a protester, he was integral in calling for a week-long delay and an FBI investigation before the full Senate vote.

He voted in favor of Kavanaugh’s nomination in committee, however, and when asked about Collins’ description of the FBI investigation’s report, he said Thursday she was “accurate” in calling it “thorough.”

When asked Thursday if it was fair to say that he was leaning towards a “yes” vote, Flake said: “You can’t say anything, but you can say that I was a ‘yes’ before this. But I wanted this pause. We’ve had this pause … and now we’re in the process of reviewing it. But thus far, we’ve seen no new, credible corroboration — no new corroboration at all.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia

PHOTO: U.S. Senator Joe Manchin speaks with reporters in the Senate Hart building as a rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh takes place on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2018.Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin speaks with reporters in the Senate Hart building as a rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh takes place on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2018.

One of the final holdouts is Manchin, a Democrat up for re-election in a state that has voted for the Republican presidential candidate since 2000.

538 reports that Manchin has a history of voting with the Trump administration 61 percent of the time.

He told reporters Thursday that his time to review the FBI documents ran out but went back to review them Friday morning before going to vote in favor of the cloture motion, putting an end to the period of debate.

He has still not said how he plans to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska

PHOTO: Republican Senator from Alaska Lisa Murkowski is surrounded by the media before viewing documents in the Senate Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Oct. 04, 2018. Erik S Lesser/EPA via Shutterstock
Republican Senator from Alaska Lisa Murkowski is surrounded by the media before viewing documents in the Senate Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Oct. 04, 2018.

Her history of breaking ranks with her party on critical votes like the skinny Obamacare repeal vote paints her as something of a swing vote, even though 538 reports that she has voted with the Trump administration 82.9 percent of the time.

Though she has not officially said if she will support Kavanaugh, she voted against the cloture motion on Friday morning.

“I believe Brett Kavanaugh is a good man. I believe he is a good man. It just may be that in my view, he’s not the right man for the court at this time,” she said Friday.

On Thursday, she met with a group of protesters who traveled to Washington from Alaska and they said that she gave them some opaque insights.

Kate Demarest is an Anchorage-based lawyer who flew with her young children overnight to Minnesota, dropped them off with her parents and then she continued traveling to Washington, D.C., to meet with Murkowski.

“She said directly, ‘I can look all of you in the eye and say I don’t know what I’m going to do,'” Demarest told ABC News of her conversation with Murkowski Thursday.

ABC News’ Sarah Kolinovsky and Ali Rogin contributed to this report.