Hawley doubles down on Supreme Court messaging against McCaskill

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) has launched a new statewide digital ad that ties Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats must turn around Utah police arrest man driving 130 mph claiming he was going to kill former Missouri senator McCaskill congratulates Hawley on birth of daughter MORE (D-Mo.) to Senate Democrats who oppose President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE’s Supreme Court nominee.

The ad, which was shared first with The Hill, features clips of Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs MORE (D-N.Y.) as well as progressive Sens. Cory BookerCory BookerBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Policy center calls for new lawmakers to make diverse hires Dangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Democratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Social media responds to Harris making history: 'I feel like our ancestors are rejoicing' MORE (D-N.Y.) saying they’ll oppose Trump’s pick, Brett Kavanaugh, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy.

All three senators support McCaskill, who’s running for reelection in one of the toughest Senate races this cycle.

Missouri, a state that President Trump won by nearly 20 points in 2016, could play a pivotal role in determining which party controls the upper chamber.


“These are the partisan liberals Claire McCaskill campaigns with, fundraises with, and welcomes support from,” Kelli Ford, Hawley’s campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement.

“She can’t have it both ways: does she support the wishes of Missourians or will she act on the wishes of her most loyal, left-wing allies?”

Hawley is using the Supreme Court as a central theme in his Senate campaign and a wedge issue with McCaskill.

Hawley, who formerly clerked on the Supreme Court for Chief Justice John Roberts, launched his first television ad of the campaign on Monday. That ad also centered around the high court vacancy. In the ad, he calls on McCaskill “to make a break” with Schumer and support Trump’s pick.

McCaskill’s campaign pushed back on Hawley’s Supreme Court ad Monday, noting that McCaskill has voted for 76 percent of Trump’s judicial nominees.

Red state senators up for reelection, like McCaskill, are facing heavy pressure from both sides over Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Voting for Trump’s pick could help burnish a more bipartisan image, but could also risk alienating the base, which is needed to win reelection.

McCaskill faces a situation similar to the one she was in regarding Trump’s last Supreme Court nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch. Three senators up for reelection in Trump states ultimately voted to confirm Gorsuch, but McCaskill didn’t back him.

McCaskill hasn’t announced her decision and on Tuesday she sent an email to supporters asking them to fill out a survey on Kavanaugh’s nomination and the issues most important to them, according to The Associated Press.

Outside groups on both sides of the aisle have been pouring millions into Missouri's Senate race.

Democrats' Senate Majority PAC has already spent $6 million to boost McCaskill. The group's latest six-figure ad criticizes Hawley's record as state attorney general.

For Republicans, Missouri Rising, the local chapter of America Rising, is out Wednesday with a new seven-figure statewide TV buy that calls McCaskill "out-of-touch." The ad will remain on the air for two weeks.

McCaskill also announced her second-quarter fundraising on Wednesday, which was her biggest haul of the cycle. She brought in $4.3 million and ended June with $12.2 million. Hawley has yet to release his fundraising number.

--Updated at 12 p.m.