Which way Kavanaugh’s nomination goes — to the high court or down in defeat — is all about the math of votes in the 100-member Senate. The party split goes like this: 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and 2 independents, both of whom caucus with the Democrats. So two Republican votes against Kavanaugh’s confirmation would derail it. Vice President Mike Pence could break a 50-50 tie.

There are more than two Republican senators who are not committing to voting yes. Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a member of the Judiciary Committee, says he is not comfortable holding a vote until Ford’s allegations are heard. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who also is retiring, is not on the panel but said the vote should be postponed until the committee has heard from Ford. Contacted Sunday by CNN, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, wouldn’t say whether the vote should be postponed or whether she believes Ford.

Like Collins, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told the network she has questions. Both Collins and Murkowski are considered potential swing votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee,” Collins tweeted later Monday.



The Judiciary Committee is split between majority Republicans and Democrats 11-10. Even if Democrats peel off the one Republican vote to not recommend Kavanaugh to the full Senate, Republicans have another option. There’s nothing preventing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from bringing the nomination directly to the Senate floor.



Trump stayed publicly silent on Kavanaugh over the weekend but told reporters Monday afternoon that “a little delay” may be needed on the upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee vote.

However, Trump predicted that the judge’s nomination will “work out very well.”

Trump said he wants a “full process” to investigate the allegations, but he also said the nomination was “very much on track.” The president praised Kavanaugh as one of the finest people he’s known, and he called a question about whether Kavanaugh should withdraw “ridiculous.”

Across multiple morning shows Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway pushed for Ford to be allowed to testify before lawmakers.

“She should not be insulted. She should not be ignored. She should testify under oath and she should do it on Capitol Hill,” Conway said.

Trump did not say whether he thought Ford should appear before lawmakers. Conway said that decision was up to the Judiciary Committee.

Either way, Trump’s own history could be drawn into the discussion. More than a dozen women have accused him of sexual misconduct, which he denies. Then there’s the “Access Hollywood” tape that repelled many Republicans when it became public during the 2016 election. On it, Trump can be heard boasting of grabbing women by their genitals and kissing them without permission.

Trump apologized but also defended himself, calling his comments “locker-room talk.”



Conspicuously missing from the public remarks of Republicans on Monday was a vociferous defense of Kavanaugh. The restraint was clearly designed to appeal to Collins and Murkowski — or at least, to avoid angering them.

Republicans are certain to try to avoid a public airing of the allegations.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa was trying to arrange separate, follow-up calls with Kavanaugh and Ford before Thursday’s vote — but just for aides to top members. Democrats rejected the idea and have called for the FBI to investigate the allegation as part of a background check.



Trump won 41 percent of votes cast by women nationally in 2016 — despite the “Access Hollywood” tape, his habit of criticizing women’s looks and the fact that his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, is a woman.

But two years later, the president and his party are facing a headwind of opposition from women in the midterm election that the Kavanaugh allegation could amplify.

A record number of women, most of them Democrats, will be on the nation’s ballots in the Nov. 6 congressional elections. In the House, Democrats need to flip 23 Republican-held seats to win the majority. In the Senate, the Democrats would have to gain two seats.


AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro and Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut contributed to this report.


Follow Kellman on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellman


This story has been corrected to show that Trump won 41 percent, not 42 percent, of the female vote.