Sens. Tester, Daines to split Kavanaugh vote; Rosendale cites “good man’s rep”

Montana’s two U.S. senators will split their vote on the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, with Sen. Steve Daines standing in support and Sen. Jon Tester in opposition.

Tester said Friday he plans to vote against the Supreme Court nominee’s lifetime appointment to the bench, saying he had concerns that go beyond recent allegations of sexual assault.

“I have concerns that Judge Kavanaugh defended the PATRIOT Act instead of Montanans’ privacy. I have concerns about his support for more dark money in politics. I have concerns about who he believes is in charge of making personal health decisions. And I have deep concerns about the allegations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh.

“Unfortunately, Judge Kavanaugh couldn’t find time to discuss these concerns with me in person, so the only information I have is from what he said in his hearings.  I’ll be voting against him.”

Daines also issued a statement after Thursday’s hearing, in which Kavanaugh answered questions regarding accusations of sexual assault made against him.

“I watched the entire hearing from gavel to gavel. I made it very clear from the beginning that I wanted to hear from both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh because of the seriousness of these allegations. And I thank both of them for coming before the Committee to be heard.

“But as I watched it today, I concluded that there is no corroborating evidence to support this serious allegation. Rather, this seems to be an orchestrated smear campaign intended to destroy Judge Kavanaugh at the eleventh hour.

“The Democrats turned this process into an embarrassing, political circus that will have lasting effects for generations to come. They should be ashamed. I look forward to casting my vote for Judge Kavanaugh.”

Matt Rosendale, who is challenging Tester for his seat, called Thursday’s hearing a “circus” and stated his support for Kavanaugh.

“This 11th hour political circus to destroy a good man’s reputation and hurt his family is disgraceful. The Senate should immediately vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”

Also on Friday, members of Protect Our Car in Helena, Missoula and Bozeman delivered petitions to Daines asking him to reject Kavanaugh’s confirmation and defend the Affordable Care Act. In doing so, cancers survivors Katie Mazurek and Amy Coseo issued the following statement:

“We are grateful to Sen. Tester for standing up for the 425,900 Montanans with preexisting conditions and their families by rejecting this dangerous Supreme Court nominee. Sen. Tester has stood up time and time again for Montanans and their access to healthcare. Now, it’s time for Sen. Daines to do the right thing and help Montanans continue to access the healthcare they need by joining Sen. Tester in voting ‘No’. Judge Kavanaugh’s record shows that he will actively work against the interests of Montanans and their families if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court.”