Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said Thursday she will vote against confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, leaving a narrowing path to confirmation.
The North Dakota Democrat told her decision to a home-state television station, WDAY, which said it would reveal her reasoning later.
Her decision comes even as a new FBI report seems to undercut claims sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh dating back to the 1980s.
She was one of two Democrats still undecided on the judge. The other is Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.
Ms. Heitkamp is up for re-election this year in a pro-Trump state, and the decision is likely to prove unpopular with voters there. She is already the most embattled incumbent in the chamber, according to elections analysts.
In her WDAY interview aired on CNN, Ms. Heitkamp got emotional as she explained that her choice was “not a political decision.”
“If it was a political decision for me, I would certainly be deciding this the other way,” she said. “I can’t get up in the morning and look at at the life experience I’ve had and say yes to Judge Kavanaugh.”
A Fox News poll released Wednesday showed Ms. Heitkamp trailing her Republican rival, Rep, Kevin Cramer, by 12 points.
According to the poll 17 percent of voters said they’d be more inclined to vote for her if she opposed Judge Kavanaugh — but nearly twice that, 33 percent, said they’d be less willing to vote for her.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee said her “No” vote sealed her fate.
“With her partisan decision to vote against President Trump’s qualified Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Heidi Heitkamp can wave goodbye to her re-election prospects,” NRSC spokesman Michael McAdams said. “Voters now know Heitkamp’s loyalty lies with the liberal resistance rather than President Trump and North Dakota.”
Republicans hold just 51 votes in the 100-seat chamber. Three GOP senators are still undecided on their support for Judge Kavanaugh, along with Mr. Manchin.
At least two of those four must back the judge in order to get 50 votes — enough to have Vice President Mike Pence break the tie in favor of confirmation.