Democratic U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp said on Thursday she would vote in favor of Republican President Donald Trump's nominee to be secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, making it likely that the CIA director will be confirmed to take the post.
A moderate up for re-election this year in North Dakota, a state Trump won easily in 2016, Heitkamp is the first Senate Democrat to back the nominee.
Because Republican Senator Rand Paul announced his opposition, and Senator John McCain has been absent from Washington and unable to vote because of illness, Pompeo needed at least one Democratic vote to win a majority in the Senate.
Republicans have only a 51-49 majority in the chamber.
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