Kavanaugh Nomination Takes Center Stage at Final Senate Debate

Oct 2, 2018

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va., left, points to Republican challenger Corey Stewart after their final debate in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Credit Steve Helber / AP

Candidates for Virginia’s Senate seat tackled the controversial Supreme Court nomination during their final debate Tuesday night.


Incumbent Democrat Tim Kaine has announced he won’t be supporting Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, but said Tuesday night that he thinks it’s important the FBI investigate the allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.

“I think they raise a serious question of character about somebody on the Supreme Court. You’re not entitled to be on the Supreme Court,” Kaine said.  

But Republican Corey Stewart says the hearings are a circus, pushed by Democrats to derail the nomination.

“For allegations, unproven, in Brett Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook? From 36 years ago?!” Stewart said disbelievingly.  

 

Stewart consistently used the issue to pivot towards his own unsubstantiated allegations that Kaine has been trying to keep information about sexual harassment on Capitol Hill under wraps.

 

In fact, Kaine pushed for the release of data on sexual harrasment claims filed against members of Congress or their staff.  During the debate Kaine said no claims have been filed against him or any of his staff.

The debate in Richmond was the final one between the two candidates. Libertarian Matt Waters will also be on the ballot this November, but was not invited to participate in the debate.

Kaine says his campaign has been upbeat and forward-looking, but it didn’t take him long to attack Stewart for his tone on the campaign trail

“Harsh attacks on immigrant communities, championing the causes of white supremacists and other extreme individuals,” Kaine said of Stewart.

Stewart also came out swinging. He consistently used his time not to answer questions, but to accuse Kaine of getting nothing done during his four years as Governor, and six years as Senator.

“He’s against everything that President Trump and the Republicans proposes. Why? Because he’s bitter about 2016. That’s why,” Stewart said. “He opposes everything. I get things done.”

Stewart serves on Prince William county's Board of  Supervisors -- where he says they’ve cut spending but increased employee salaries.

For his part, Kaine says he’s accomplished plenty in the Senate, including 17 pieces of legislation that President Trump has signed.

“I don’t oppose the President on everything. We work together when it’s good for the Commonwealth,” said Kaine.

But Stewart says Kaine resisted the tax cuts, whereas he would have been a firm yes on Trump’s economic agenda.  

 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.