Sen. Lisa Murkowski was presented with the pleas of hundreds of women who wrote from afar and traveled to the nation’s capital on Thursday, October 4, in an effort to personally request that she vote to decline Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s advancement to the Supreme Court. Among them were dozens of sexual assault survivors with whom Murkowski is reported to have convened in a series of emotional closed-door meetings, according to MSNBC correspondent Garrett Haake.
Moving ahead into Friday, Sen. Murkowski holds the attention of a public that is split on the question of Kavanaugh’s impending confirmation. She is one of four senators who have yet to commit to a vote, with Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and fellow Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine being the others. The majority of the dissenters who showed up to Washington, D.C. were from Alaska and Maine, suggesting that the organizers of the influx had prepared to focus their campaigns on getting either Sen. Murkowski or Sen. Collins to sway.
For Sen. Murkowski, that meant becoming the recipient of letters from some 350 Alaskan attorneys and playing host to 130 Alaskan constituents with a case to make. The result in real time was a succession of meetings that saw Sen. Murkowski invite 18 women into her office at a time so that she could hear their stories of sexual abuse. Many of those same women would reportedly leave the room in tears throughout the afternoon.
Lisa Murkowski has been meeting with dozens of Alaskan women privately in her office today, including several sexual assault survivors. The last group of 18 just left, describing a very emotional, hour+ meeting— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) October 4, 2018
Senators Flake, Collins, and Manchin may be trying to decide how they will reconcile with their decision on the basis of bridges that might be burned within the party should they vote Kavanaugh down, but there is more on the line for Sen. Murkowski so far as her electability goes should she side with her colleagues who are presently vowing to stick by the judge.
For one, Kavanaugh left a bad taste in the mouth of the state’s indigenous people when he previously challenged the right of Hawaiians and Alaskans to claim the constitutional protections afforded to Native Americans. Secondly, Alaska happens to be the state registering the highest rate of sexual assaults, with crimes that are sexual in nature being three times the national average and Statistica confirming that an unprecedented 116.7 citizens per 100,000 having experienced forcible rapes in 2017.
Protesters are hoping that Sen. Murkowski will consider how unfavorably a pro-Kavanaugh vote may be viewed by her resident citizens when she cast it. Many of them were hopeful after Thursday’s engagement with the senator – who went so far as to actually invite them to watch Friday’s procedural vote.
The women tell me Murkowski was VERY engaged with their stories and heard them out as they urged her to vote against Kavanaugh.— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) October 4, 2018