Joe Manchin mulls Kavanaugh vote while facing tough West Virginia re-election challenge

Until Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., makes up his mind about Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey is hammering the incumbent for being undecided.

That’s even though Morrisey thinks Manchin supports Kavanaugh, too.

“He will vote for Kavanaugh,” Morrisey said.  “But he’s going to wait for the votes to come in.”

Morrisey, West Virginia’s attorney general, has said he believes Manchin is trying to avoid being the deciding vote for or against Kavanaugh. Other senators apparently on the fence have included Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

“This is all about politics for him,” Morrisey said, “because he’s waiting until Collins and Murkowski and others declare.  Once that happens, he’ll jump on board.”

President Trump won West Virginia by 42 points in 2016, and Manchin supported the president's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

However, Trump argued at a rally in Wheeling on Saturday that Manchin isn’t a reliable partner very often- so he’s moved on.

“A vote for Morrisey is a vote for me,” Trump said.

Still, Manchin credited Kavanaugh for his rebuttal of Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

“They’re both credible witnesses and they both believe deeply and sincerely of what they testified to,” Manchin said.

So does the vulnerable Democrat, one of 10 trying to win re-election in a state President Trump carried, just need to see the results of a week-long FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s background before he can pledge his support?

Not necessarily.

“It might not come to any different conclusion,” Manchin said.  “But basically what we can say is: we’ve crossed all the Ts and dotted all the Is, and all the boxes have been checked.”