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Kavanaugh's impact on Indiana's U.S. Senate race

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Indiana U.S. Senate hopefuls are split on the fate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, as another woman comes forward alleging sexual misconduct by the judge.

“I think one of the things so challenging for Joe Donnelly right now is the fact that a delay has benefits but it also has potential costs,” said Elizabeth Bennion, IUSB political science professor. “And so it puts him in a much more challenging position than Mike Braun who just echoes the ads on TV that question why Donnelly won’t confirm.”

While all eyes are will be on Kavanaugh as he addresses the Judiciary Committee again on Thursday, there’s a spotlight on what Democratic incumbent Senator Joe Donnelly will do.

He doubled down this weekend on wanting to delay a confirmation vote until after a hearing happened.

“We shouldn’t worry about a day here or a day there,” said Donnelly. “This is a lifetime appointment and what’s important is to get to the truth.”

Donnelly also wants an independent investigation opened into these allegations.

“I’ve said all along, the FBI should investigate this. That’s traditionally what they do,” he said.

But his opponent in November disagrees.

“I think that’s typical Democrats,” said Mike Braun, Republican U.S. Senate nominee. “I think that’s Chuck Schumer trying to delay it to where you push beyond the midterms. It’s been so much time, that information they’ve been sitting on for a couple of months. To me, that’s embarrassing to Democrats.”

But how will voters react to the politics involved here?

“Joe Donnelly can’t afford to lose women in his base in the Democratic Party,” said Bennion. “On the other hand, the longer it is delayed; there are some political observers who say, ‘well, that could mean that we’re keeping the Supreme Court nomination on the ballot.’ And so Republicans who Donnelly hopes to reach out to win back his seat and return to the Senate, might be less likely to vote for him, if they see it as a referendum on the Supreme Court.”

Sen. Donnelly pressed again for an FBI investigation after a third accuser came forward.

"The allegations raised against Judge Kavanaugh are serious, merit further review, and I believe should be investigated by the FBI. I will continue to get as much information as I can, including by following Thursday's scheduled hearing."

Wednesday, Julie Swetnick, alleged sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh when he was in high school in an affidavit posted online by her attorney.

View a timeline of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination process by Evan DaCosta.

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