Pompeo's confirmation as SecState all but assured as Heitkamp pledges vote
When news broke of Mike Pompeo's secret Easter trip to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong-un, I figured that his confirmation as secretary of state, which would require at least one Senate Democrat vote because of Rand Paul's opposition and John McCain's inability to vote due to illness, was now likely. Yesterday, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who faces the voters of North Dakota in November, announced her vote.
Jordain Carney writes in The Hill:
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) said Thursday that she will support President Trump's nomination of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as secretary of State, virtually guaranteeing he will win confirmation.
Heitkamp, who faces a difficult reelection race this fall in a state Trump won by double-digits, becomes the first Senate Democrat to announce her support for Pompeo.
"The role of the State Department is to support our diplomatic missions to avoid conflict, support American interests, and stand up for our allies, and having a leadership team in place is essential to carrying out those jobs," she said in a statement.
As Carney notes, Pompeo may need one more Democrat senator's support:
It's possible Pompeo could lose another GOP vote. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Thursday that he remains undecided on Pompeo, but he did support him to be CIA director last year.
Flake is retiring from the Senate and could relish the spoiler role. But there are other endangered red-state Democrat senators who are prospects to vote for confirmation. They are caught between the wishes of their voters and the wrath of the progressive pressure groups:
Nicole Brener-Schmitz, the political director for NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the group was "very disappointed."
"A vote in favor of Mike Pompeo is simply irreconcilable with being a true champion for women and girls," she added.
MoveOn also sent its supporters an email urging them to tell Heitkamp to reconsider her decision and "stop Pompeo in order to stop a war."
That much heralded blue wave in November may not be such a sure thing. Red-state Democrat senators are caught in a vise between their voters and progressive Democrat special interest groups.