But the Kavanaugh spectacle, fueled by extraordinary accusations and counter-claims in nationally televised hearings, and tense battles over an 11th-hour FBI investigation to address the assault allegations, has enflamed political passions. The tweet was widely viewed as a thinly-veiled threat to challenge Murkowski in her 2022 reelection campaign to the Senate.
Collins and Murkowski are the only GOP senators who support abortion rights, a crucial issue in the Kavanaugh debate.
The other senators who have been closely watched since it was not known how they would vote - Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, will remain a "no" during Saturday's confirmation vote. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who had been undecided.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the actions of Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have tarnished the dignity of the upper chamber.
Collins said the confirmation had resembled a "caricature of a gutter-level political campaign" and criticized Democrats for announcing their opposition to Kavanaugh before his name was even announced. "The facts presented do not mean the Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time, but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations fail to meet the "more likely than not" standard".
Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List, which contributes to female Democratic candidates, assailed the confirmation of "an alleged sexual assailant and anti-choice radical to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court".
After Friday's procedural vote, Senate Republicans hope to take a final vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation on Saturday.
Flake had suggested he would vote "yes" for Kavanaugh "unless something big changes". Enough senators have indicated they will support him Saturday to put him over the edge, with a likely margin of two votes. She doesn't want the process to drag on into the next Congress should Democrats end up winning control on Capitol Hill.
This despite a no vote from Republican Lisa Murkowski - who broke with her party, saying Kavanaugh is the wrong man for theses times....
The last of the undecided votes began falling into place after the senators reviewed a highly anticipated report from the FBI investigating allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.
"I believe that Brett Kavanaugh is a good man, I believe he is a good man. He also cited Justice Kennedy's recent Masterpiece Cakeshop opinion for the court's majority, stating that, 'The days of treating gay and lesbian Americans or and gay and lesbian couples as second-class citizens who are inferior in dignity and worth are over in the Supreme Court'". Republicans argued that it exonerated Kavanaugh of any wrongdoing, giving senators more confidence in voting to confirm him. Collins also intimated that Ford may have been used by "people who wanted to engineer" Kavanaugh's defeat and "cared little about her well-being". Susan Collins announced she's voting yes for the Supreme Court nominee.
But he added that based on the Federal Bureau of Investigation report, "I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him". Protesters marching arm in arm from the Supreme Court to Senate office buildings Thursday wore shirts that said "Believe women" while chanting "Hey hey!"
It was the closest roll call to confirm a justice since 1881, when Stanley Matthews was approved by 24-23, according to Senate records.
Under pressure from wavering fellow Republicans, GOP leaders agreed to an extraordinary Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week that absorbed the nation as Ford nervously recounted her story and said she was "100 percent" certain that Kavanaugh was her attacker.