Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Friday that she will vote “present” on the Supreme Court appointment of Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday afternoon rather than “no.”

The reason? By doing so, she will allow fellow Republican Sen. Steve Daines to stay at his daughter’s Montana wedding on that day, rather than take an urgent private jet back to Washington to vote.

There was concern among Republicans that Daines’s absence could cause a last-minute problem in the expected vote to confirm Kavanaugh. But Murkowski said she would step up for her fellow Republican, even though she remains opposed to Kavanaugh’s ascension, as her vote will not apparently affect the outcome, barring a surprise.

“I will be a ‘no’ tomorrow,” said Murkowski, speaking on the Senate floor. “I will, in the final tally, be asked to be recorded as present and I do this because a friend, a colleague of ours, is in Montana this evening, and tomorrow at just about the same hour we’re going to be voting, he’s going to be walking his daughter down the aisle and he won’t be present to vote.

“I have extended this as a courtesy to my friend,” she said. “It will not change the outcome of the vote.”
The latest estimate is that Kavanaugh will be confirmed by a 50-48 vote on Saturday.
Murkowski was the lone Republican to vote against advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination during Friday’s cloture vote.