Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner — facing a tough re-election battle — said Friday that he supports delaying a vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, echoing calls other GOP governors made Thursday.
The comment came hours before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate along party lines. Whether Kavanaugh has enough votes for confirmation is uncertain.
The nation was glued to both Kavanaugh’s testimony as well as that of Christine Blasey Ford, who told a Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school. Kavanaugh has steadfastly denied the allegations.
During a segment on WBEZ-FM on Friday morning, Rauner was asked whether the confirmation should be delayed until after an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.
“Dr. Ford’s allegations are very serious, and they seem very credible,” Rauner said. “I believe that they deserve to be investigated and I believe a vote should be postponed until they are fully investigated.”
Asked if he would be “inclined” to vote for Kavanaugh should he be a sitting senator, Rauner said “the allegations are very serious.”
“I think the truth needs to be determined and that should determine, in the end, how a senator should vote,” Rauner said.
That’s a cautious change of tune for Rauner,who in late July was among the majority of the country’s Republican governors who sent a letter in support of Kavanaugh’s nomination. His name was one of four Republican governors missing from an initial letter. But hours after the letter was reported, the Rauner campaign said the Republican Governors Association would be adding Rauner’s signature to the letter, calling it a “simple miscommunication.”
Rauner on July 10 said he supports the nomination of Kavanaugh, a politically connected conservative judge.
Republican governors seeking re-election in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and elsewhere are calling for a full investigation of sexual misconduct allegations about him before the U.S. Senate votes on his confirmation.
Some of their Democratic challengers are saying they should go even further and call on President Donald Trump to withdraw the nomination or for senators to vote down the confirmation.
Some Republicans have declined to comment, saying it’s a federal issue.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker bashed President Trump and Rauner in a statement on Thursday, saying there is “daily destruction unethical behavior coming from Donald Trump’s White House, but Bruce Rauner continues to support Trump and the troubling nominee.”
“I’ve opposed Kavanaugh from day one because he poses a grave threat to Roe v. Wade, the Affordable Care Act, and critical consumer and environmental protections. We simply can’t afford to have a Supreme Court justice who threatens to upend the rights of communities across Illinois,” Pritzker said in a statement. “For the sake of Illinois women and families, Brett Kavanaugh cannot be confirmed.”
Contributing: The Associated Press