The Phoenix Flyer

US Sen Bill Nelson a ‘no’ vote on Kavanaugh – and Nelson’s now taking heat

By: - September 28, 2018 11:09 am

Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, caught up in a tense battle for reelection against Governor Rick Scott, announced early this morning that he will vote no on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I will vote no on Judge Kavanaugh,” Nelson tweeted shortly before 5 a.m. on Friday.

His vote would be connected to the full U.S. Senate’s decision — Nelson doesn’t sit on the Judiciary Committee that votes initially to recommend whether Kavanaugh should sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nelson’s opposition to Kavanaugh isn’t much of a surprise, but he had insisted that he was keeping an open mind, saying as recently as Wednesday that he was undecided about Kavanaugh’s nomination.

On Thursday, in an extraordinary and painful U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Kavanaugh denied sexual allegations against his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who testified that she was assaulted by Kavanaugh when the two teens were in high school.

Not surprisingly, Scott and the Republican Party attacked his announcement as too predictable, and painting the Democrat as a Washington tool.

“This is not news. This was always the case. You were always going to do exactly what your party leaders told you to do,” tweeted Scott. “You decided no before you even knew who the nominee was. Your vote does not even belong to you – it belongs to @SenSchumer.”

A spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee echoed Scott’s statement.

“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 National Republican Senatorial Committee 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.”

Later on Friday, Florida’s other U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio, announced he would “not vote against” Kavanaugh.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to bring Kavanaugh up for a straight up or down vote before the entire U.S. Senate early next week.

Most polls between Nelson and Scott show the race to be a dead heat, though a Quinnipiac survey released this week shows him with an eight-percentage point lead, 53 percent to 46 percent

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.