Hours after telling reporters that she would have voted to confirm U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh Wednesday, former Marine Corps pilot and newly minted U.S. Senate candidate Amy McGrath reversed her position.
After receiving a strong backlash online from Democrats and progressives, McGrath tweeted that she had reviewed the facts and changed her mind.
“I was asked earlier today about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and I answered based upon his qualifications to be on the Supreme Court,” McGrath tweeted. “But upon further reflection and further understanding of his record, I would have voted no.”
Kavanaugh’s nomination and subsequent confirmation to the court was a major rallying point for both Democrats and Republicans after Kavanaugh was accused of sexual misconduct by Christine Blasey-Ford and Deborah Rodriguez. Ultimately Kavanugh was confirmed on a party-line vote.
McGrath’s answer was out of step with Democrats and the type of progressives who propelled her 2018 campaign for the House of Representatives. But earlier Wednesday she told reporters at the Courier-Journal and Insider Louisville that she found Blasey-Ford’s allegations credible, but didn’t believe they disqualified Kavanaugh from serving on the court.
“I was worried when Kavanaugh was nominated because I felt like his stances on unions and women’s reproductive rights and some of those things were pretty far out of the mainstream,” McGrath told Insider Louisville. “At the same time, there wasn’t anything that disqualified Judge Kavanaugh from becoming a Supreme Court justice. So that’s where I stood. I mean, I didn’t have to make a vote one way or the other, but there was nothing to disqualify Judge Kavanaugh.”
McGrath announced on Tuesday that she is running for Republican Mitch McConell’s Senate seat.
While McGrath was able to bring in more than $2.5 million since she announced, the flip-flop is yet another example of McGrath drawing criticism from both Republicans and Democrats as she tries to walk the line and pull moderate voters in a state that elected Trump by 30 percentage points. The opening salvo of her campaign has centered upon language like “drain the swamp” and a focus on Trump policies she would support.
But the focus on moderates has alienated some of Kentucky’s progressive Democrat base early in the campaign. Some have called upon the other major Democratic candidates who have considered running, Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones and House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins to get in the race. Neither have declared so far.