HARTFORD, CT — U.S. Senate candidate Matt Corey came up to the Capitol press room Friday to watch the Senate vote 51-49 to close debate on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who Corey is running against, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal both voted against the motion.
Corey, who through the end of July has raised $28,000, has had trouble engaging Murphy in any type of political discussion or debate. The only televised debate between the two will be held on Oct. 28 at WFSB’s studio.
“I think they’ve made a mockery of this. They weaponized the MeToo movement, which is a shame,” Corey said.
He said Murphy and Blumenthal were going to vote against Kavanaugh even before Dr. Christine Blasley Ford stepped forward with her accusations of sexual assault during a high school party more than 30 years ago.
“They were going to attack any nominee this president put forward,” Corey said.
Murphy who has raised about $10.5 million between January 2017 and the end of June used his time Thursday on the Senate floor to speak about why he opposes Kavanaugh’s nomination. It’s largely based on the Affordable Care Act and gun control, but he said that doesn’t mean he can’t also have an opinion on what’s happened over the past week.
“I didn’t need the tragic drama of the last few weeks to know how I felt about Brett Kavanaugh serving on the Supreme Court,” Murphy said. “I was an early no vote and I don’t apologize for coming to that conclusion months ago. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not entitled to have a strong opinion on what has played out before the eyes of America during the month of September, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t have the right to make the argument here that for those in the Senate who weren’t as sure as I was that what happened in the last 30 days should be dispositive on the future of this nomination.”
Corey said the process was already ugly before Ford came forward with her allegations.
He said his support for Kavanaugh’s nomination has nothing to do with Ford and her testimony.
“My feelings go out to Dr. Ford. Anyone who watched her testimony absolutely knows that something tragic happened,” Corey said.
But he doesn’t believe Kavanaugh was the one who assaulted her.
“The corroborating evidence wasn’t there that it was Judge Kavanaugh,” Corey said.
As for the emotion Kavanaugh displayed during his testimony and whether that’s an indication of his judicial temperament, Corey said sometimes “emotions get the best of people, but this was a personal attack by somebody who felt he was dragged through the mud.”
Murphy disagreed that what was on display last week didn’t go deeper.
“The whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that had been stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons,” Kavanaugh testified.
Murphy said “to believe and then to publicly claim that this is some larger organized effort by Democrats who purposefully held back this allegation until the last minute is to reveal to America your true political bias.”
“There was no conspiracy. There was no orchestrated smear campaign,” Murphy said. “Listen, if that was our M.O., why didn’t we use it on Neil Gorsuch when there was more anger on our side because that was the seat that should have been Merrick Garland’s?”
Corey said because Gorsuch’s nomination didn’t necessarily tip the balance of the court to right.
If confirmed, Kavanaugh will fill the open seat belonged to retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was considered a key swing vote on the court in many ways.
Murphy said the battle over Kennedy’s seat was always going to be controversial and contentious.
“There was no way around that, but it didn’t need to go down like this,” he said. “It didn’t need to divide this country. It didn’t need to marginalize victims to politicize the Supreme Court like this nomination has.”
The U.S. Senate still has to vote Saturday to confirm Kavanaugh to the court. The debate is expected to start around 5 p.m.