Left mounts heavy pressure campaign on swing senators over Supreme Court

Liberal groups are mounting a major offensive against President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE’s Supreme Court pick, hoping to pressure every Democratic senator to vote against whomever the White House nominates to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy.

With Republicans clinging to a 50-49 voting majority given Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainClimate change is a GOP issue, too It's Joe Biden's 2020 presidential nomination to lose Meghan McCain on Pelosi-Trump feud: 'Put this crap aside' and 'work together for America' MORE’s (R-Ariz.) battle with brain cancer, Democrats also hope to pick off two Republican votes to stall Trump’s nominee.

The biggest targets are Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski celebrates birthday with electric scooter ride Overnight Energy: Park Service plans to pay full-time staff through entrance fees | Oil companies join blitz for carbon tax | Interior chief takes heat for saying he hasn't 'lost sleep' over climate change Democrats grill Trump Interior chief for saying he hasn't 'lost sleep' over climate change MORE (Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights MORE (Maine), two Republican women who support abortion rights.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the odds are long.

Murkowski and Collins backed Trump’s last pick for the court, Neil Gorsuch, even though he was seen as a likely vote against abortion rights.

In addition, a handful of Democratic senators — Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight Fight over Trump's new NAFTA hits key stretch Former senators launching effort to help Dems win rural votes MORE (N.D.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats MORE (W.Va.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Obama honors 'American statesman' Richard Lugar Former GOP senator Richard Lugar dies at 87 MORE (Ind.) ­— also backed Gorsuch and will face enormous pressure to do so again given their reelection races in states easily won by Trump in the last presidential election.

All five swing senators met with Trump at the White House Thursday in a sign of the heavy lobbying to come.

But progressive groups are hopeful that what they describe as a “multimillion-dollar” campaign on lawmakers across the country will galvanize an activated base and show senators that there would be severe political consequences for siding with Trump.

“This will be a 50-state campaign. Our members are fired up, our phones are ringing off the hook, and we are ready to fight this fight,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a Thursday conference call with reporters.

NARAL and other groups have provided no details on their specific plans, but have made it clear that they see the court fight as being a decisive battle over abortion rights.

Kennedy in a 1992 decision upheld Roe v. Wade, and his exit from the court could lead to a majority of five conservative justices opposed to abortion rights.

Hogue said the effort by groups including NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Indivisible and the National Women’s Law Center will marry a significant ad budget with heavy grass-roots organizing around the country.

There will be direct appeals to Murkowski and Collins to not vote to confirm a justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Other Republicans will also hear from the left wing.

Hogue specifically called out Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nev.), who is seen as the most vulnerable Senate Republican up for reelection this year. Heller is the only Senate Republican running in a state won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton slams Trump for spreading 'sexist trash' about Pelosi Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery MORE in 2016.

Republicans believe the court fight will help their side in the midterm elections by firing up grass-roots conservatives.

Conservative groups are already spending heavily on their own pressure campaign, and argue that red-state Democratic senators will pay for opposing a Trump nominee.

If liberals can’t stop the GOP Senate from confirming a Trump pick, they at least hope to use the issue to drive voters to the polls this November, when Democrats believe they can win back the House majority and possibly the Senate.

Leaders of groups backing the effort are quick to highlight the success Democratic women have had in races around the country, a point underlined by this week’s upset victory in New York by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.) in a Democratic primary.

“We are having this vacancy in the summer when everyone is calling the year of the women — where women are rising, where they are raising their voices,” said Fatima Goss-Graves, CEO and president of the National Women’s Law Center.

“They aren’t confused about the threat that is in front of them.”