Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) told reporters she hopes red state Democrats will pay close attention to both Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week and to their constituents.
She did not, however, acknowledge that the majority of Americans in red states support Kavanaugh's confirmation, according to polls, and she went on to suggest voters should ask "all 100 senators" to "vote no."
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A reporter asked Gillibrand if she was worried that red state Democrats such as Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly would vote for Kavanaugh.
"I’m just hopeful all of them listen to this question and answer, hear his testimony, fully understand where he will come down on these issues, and then listen to their constituents," Gillibrand responded.
A recent survey showed Kavanaugh is highly popular in states President Trump carried by double-digit margins in 2016, and where vulnerable Democratic senators are up for reelection. Support for the president’s nominee exceeds 60 percent in North Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, and Missouri.
Polls in North Dakota show Republican candidate Kevin Cramer leading Democratic incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in that state’s senate race. Poll numbers in Missouri show a back-and-forth race between incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill and the GOP nominee, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.
Following her initial response, Gillibrand turned to a group of anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators surrounding her and encouraged them to express their opposition.
"And that gets back to us," Gillibrand continued. "That’s why our voices matter so much; that’s why what you do when you’re calling your senators, when you’re calling your friends, when you’re urging the people you know and love to speak out—you don’t know who it might be able to reach on the Democratic side or on the Republican side. So all 100 senators should be asked to vote no."
Gillibrand expressed her opposition to Kavanaugh soon after he was nominated, tweeting that she would vote against his confirmation. Prior to Kavanaugh’s nomination, the New York Democrat said the fight over the next Supreme Court justice would be about whether the country would "criminalize women."