Moran becomes third GOP senator to call for Garland confirmation hearings

Story highlights

  • Sen. Jerry Moran is a conservative Republican running for re-election
  • Earlier this week, he became the third GOP senator to call for Merrick Garland to get a Senate hearing

(CNN)Sen. Jerry Moran, a conservative Republican running for re-election, told a town hall in Kansas this week that the Senate should hold confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland, according to a Kansas newspaper.

"I would rather have you (his constituents) complaining to me that I voted wrong on nominating somebody than saying I'm not doing my job," he said, according to the Garden City Telegram, which covered the event at the Gray County Courthouse in Cimarron.
Despite wanting Senate action on the judge, Moran said that he was unlikely to support Garland.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) speaks during a news conference to launch the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba at the National Press Club January 8, 2015 in Washington, DC.
"I can't imagine the president has or will nominate somebody that meets my criteria, but I have a job to do," he said. "I think the process ought to go forward."
Moran joins Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois -- two moderates -- as the only three GOP senators calling for action on Garland.
Moran's office confirmed to CNN that he made the comment and said actually he had spoken previously to local media about allowing hearings and a vote on Garland but it wasn't picked up beyond Kansas until Thursday.
The revelation delighted the White House and liberal activists who blasted the report out to reporters in Washington. They believe the stance taken by the Senate Republican leadership -- and most of their rank and file members -- to deny President Barack Obama's nominee a hearing is unsustainable and are waging an aggressive campaign to change minds.
Moran, in his first term, is a former chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm for Senate Republicans.