Politics

Greg Gianforte’s Private Plane Could Play Crucial Role in Final Kavanaugh Vote

Sen. Steve Daines plans to be in Montana for his daughter’s Saturday wedding

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., waves to constituents at the Crow Fair in Crow Agency, Mont., on August 18, 2018. Gianforte is being challenged by Democrat Kathleen Williams. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:30 p.m. | Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte’s private plane could make it possible for Sen. Steve Daines to be in two places at once Saturday.

Daines plans to walk his daughter Annie down the aisle for her wedding in Bozeman, Montana on the same night his yea vote may be required for Republicans to approve Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

“My good friend and colleague Greg Gianforte has come to save the day,” said Daines Friday in a statement. “He’s offered me use of his plane. I appreciate his generosity as well as his dedication to family and country.”

Daines will make the trip back to Washington for the vote “if needed,” according to his spokesperson Katie Schoettler. She said the travel would not use taxpayer dollars.

Daines has flown on Gianforte’s plane before. According to the senator’s financial disclosures, he took flights on the aircraft in 2017 valued at just under $10,000.

Daines tweeted that he looked forward to calling Kavanaugh “Justice Kavanaugh.”

Daines voted to move Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor on a 51-49 mostly party line vote. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against cloture and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia voted with Republicans.

If senators vote as they did on Friday, Daines’ vote won’t be needed, but some senators emphasized that how they voted on cloture wasn’t necessarily how they would vote on confirmation.

Gianforte made national headlines in 2017 after he assaulted a reporter on the eve of his election.

Former Democratic state Rep. Kathleen Williams hopes to take over Montana’s at-large House seat from Gianforte in November. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Republican.

Patrick Kelley contributed to this report.

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