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Sen. Portman Confident Kavanaugh Will Be Confirmed Despite Battle

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
John Minchillo
Associated Press
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is interviewed outside the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Cincinnati.

Sen. Rob Portman, who has been a strong advocate for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh expressed confidence Friday he will be confirmed despite a heated battle in Washington.

The Republican senator said he expects it to be by "a very narrow margin," and added: "That's too bad."

"These hearings have become way too partisan," Portman said.

Portman has repeatedly urged colleagues to back the federal appeals court judge, saying he's highly qualified and someone he has known well since serving with him in the George W. Bush White House. In a different time, he said, Kavanaugh would have had an easier path to confirmation.

Democrats don't have the votes to block Kavanaugh's confirmation but continue to raise questions about his fitness and what might have been concealed about his past. Republicans want Kavanaugh confirmed by Oct. 1, when the new Supreme Court term begins.

Portman said the confirmation fight over President Donald Trump's pick stems from the nation's current political divide.

"I think it's reflective of our country right now," Portman said. "It's unfortunate for a lot of institutions of government, but particularly, we want to be sure we are protecting the judiciary from undue partisanship and politics.'"

Portman toured the boyhood home of the late President William Howard Taft in Cincinnati, where the national historic site needs funding for repairs and renovation.