Some pro-Kavanaugh hard-liners like Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas want the GOP to forge ahead and jam Kavanaugh through despite the allegations from Ford and Deborah Ramirez, who told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her in college. They and others worry about the precedent that would be set for future nominees if the GOP abandons Kavanaugh.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said the panel could vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination as early as Friday, although he noted no final decision has been made to do so yet. Such a plan signals that Kavanaugh will get a vote in committee regardless of what happens Thursday, and McConnell can bring the nominee to the floor even if he receives an unfavorable recommendation in committee…

Even a failed vote could pay dividends for Republicans, GOP leaders privately say, by forcing Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp to take a position on Kavanaugh. All three have been targeted to support Kavanaugh after supporting Justice Neil Gorsuch, and all hail from deep red states and are up for reelection.

“We’ve talked about Manchin and Donnelly,” said a third GOP senator, who is close to leadership.