U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says he will vote no on the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Nelson made his decision known in an early Friday morning post on Twitter.
“I will vote no on Judge Kavanaugh,” Nelson tweeted without commenting further on his decision..
I will vote no on Judge Kavanaugh.
— Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) September 28, 2018
Gov. Rick Scott responded with a tweet of his own saying Nelson’s decision was known all along.
“This is not news,” Scott tweeted. “This was always the case.”
This is not news. This was always the case. You were always going to do exactly what your party leaders told you to do. You decided no before you even knew who the nominee was. Your vote does not even belong to you – it belongs to @SenSchumer. https://t.co/ZxtJfdyEzG
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) September 28, 2018
“I found Dr. Ford’s testimony convincing, and my heart goes out to her,” Scott said in a statement issued by his campaign. “I also found Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony convincing, and he’s correct that his character has been smeared. I think both of these people have been used and abused as pawns in a partisan Washington political theater, which is clearly the product of career politicians playing games at the expense of these individuals’ lives and reputations. This hearing was a very good example of why we need term limits in Washington.
A statement released Friday morning by the National Republican Senate Committee accused Nelson of giving into his party’s leadership.
“Bill Nelson has once again folded to the far-left and his Washington party bosses, making it clear to Floridians that he will always cave to pressure from his leftward leaning party,” said NRSC Spokesperson Camille Gallo. “Bill Nelson’s opposition to Judge Kavanaugh was never about qualifications, it was about appeasing his liberal base and Washington Democrats, while selling out Floridians along the way.”
Nelson’is decision comes the day after Kavanaugh defended himself in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee against allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman 35 years ago at a high school party.
Nelson is seeking reelection to the Senate against Scott who has made the confirmation hearings an issue in the race. Scott has been critical of Nelson for not meeting with Kavanaugh heading into the confirmation hearing. He then criticized Nelson for seeking to meet with Kavanaugh and then lashing out at the judge when he failed to respond to Nelson’s repeated requests for a meeting.
Nelson does not sit on the Judiciary Committee that heard testimony Thursday into the sexual assault allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. He said Wednesday that he found Ford’s allegations to be credible, but went into Thursday’s hearing undecided on the matter.
Nelson said earlier this week that the other women with claims and allegations of sexual misconduct towards Kavanaugh should be heard. He has said that Deborah Ramirez, another accuser, should testify as well.
“I think all the women ought to have an FBI investigation and then I think that report should come to the senate Judiciary committee,” Nelson said.
Kavanaugh has denied all of allegations against him including those of Ford and Ramirez.
The U.S. Senate contest in Florida is being closely watched as one of 10 seats currently held by Democratic senators seeking reelection this fall in states President Trump won in 2016. Holding those seats are crucial if Democrats are to have any chance of flipping the Senate in November.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday found Nelson holding a 53 to 46 percent lead ahead of current Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the Senate race. Other recent polls have shown the contest to be much closer with some showing Scott to be in front. The RealClearPolitics average of polls has Nelson with a narrow 1.1 point lead.