After Senate Republicans announced Friday they would delay the final confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, candidates vying for both of Mississippi’s Senate seats shared their thoughts on the controversial process.

The confirmation process for Kavanaugh hit a snag Friday after Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, insisted that Senate leaders ask the FBI to spend a week investigating sexual assault allegations made against the nominee by Christine Blasey Ford.

Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary committee on Thursday, insisting that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh took the stand before the committee after Ford on Thursday, sternly denying Ford’s accusation.

The FBI will now investigate Ford’s allegation for no more than a week. Depending on the outcome of that investigation, Republican leaders in the Senate are expected to confirm or reject Kavanaugh’s nomination as early as next Friday.

Candidates in the regularly scheduled election for the seat currently held by Sen. Roger Wicker:

Democratic candidate David Baria: “This Thursday, Dr. Blasey Ford courageously came forth to recount her personal story of sexual assault to both the Senate and the world and I applaud the bi-partisan call for a full FBI investigation that has since followed. However, I could not be more disappointed in Mississippi’s two Senators for their refusal to join the bi-partisan call for a full FBI investigation. It is wrong for our Senators to hear from a credible and brave witness and then move to immediately dismiss her testimony without further inquiry. The entire country is watching what happens next – and it is my hope that these Senators do what is right and complete a full and through FBI investigation of all allegations before moving forward in this process.”

Republican Sen. Roger Wicker: “I watched today’s hearing with an open mind,” Wicker said in a statement after the hearing concluded on Thursday. “We saw Dr. Ford make a serious claim, and we saw Judge Kavanaugh strongly and effectively deny the charges made against him. There are no witnesses and no evidence to substantiate these or any of the allegations that have been made. In fact, the allegations made by Dr. Ford have been refuted by all the witnesses she claimed were present. The accusations are also wildly inconsistent with the upstanding reputation Judge Kavanaugh has earned throughout his life among those who know him best. We also cannot allow the political tactics of Senate Democrats to further delay this process as they have sought to do since the beginning. It is time to move forward and for the Senate to vote.”

Candidates in the special election to permanently fill the seat previously held by retired Sen. Thad Cochran:

Republican candidate Chris McDaniel: “This vote needs to be held now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. The longer this obstructionism drags on, the more the Kavanaugh family suffers. Jeff Flake and any other Republican who calls for delaying the vote is helping the Democrats derail this confirmation. The Democrats are making a mockery of our judicial system. Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, yet it seems the Democrats are calling the shots. If Mitch McConnell doesn’t bring this vote to the floor immediately, he is just as complicit as the Democrats in failing to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

Democratic candidate Mike Espy: “I listened to Dr. Ford’s testimony yesterday before the U.S. Senate. These are serious allegations that merit further inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith repeated her unwavering support for Judge Kavanaugh before Dr. Ford ever spoke. Voting on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court without a full investigation is irresponsible, wrong and not the kind of leadership Mississippi deserves.”

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith: “Let’s be clear: Opponents of Judge Kavanaugh are engaged in character assassination to destroy the reputation of a devoted public servant and a loving husband and father,” Hyde-Smith tweeted from her campaign’s Twitter account just minutes after Ford was dismissed on Thursday. “I will not stand by and watch it happen.”

Tobey Bartee: No statement provided.

Both of Mississippi’s U.S. senators expressed continued support for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee after Thursday’s historic committee hearing featuring Christine Blasey Ford.

Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary committee on Thursday, recounting the evening 36 years ago in which she said she was sexually assaulted by the nominee. Kavanaugh later gave forceful testimony denying the allegations.

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Adam Ganucheau

Adam Ganucheau

Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.