Heller slams Dems for ‘political games and smears’ on Kavanaugh

Heller slams Dems for ‘political games and smears’ on Kavanaugh
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerNevada becomes early Senate battleground Nevada governor Sisolak injured in car accident, released from hospital Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada MORE (Nev.), one of the most vulnerable Republicans running for reelection this fall, celebrated Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court on Saturday while blasting Democrats for the bitter nomination process.

"Justice Kavanaugh. Confirmed!" Heller tweeted shortly after he joined nearly every GOP senator in voting to install Kavanaugh on the high court.

Heller slammed Democrats’ handling of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, suggesting it would only excite the GOP base heading into the November midterms.

“Democrats think political games and smears will win them votes, but it only fuels our momentum,” he asserted. 

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Heller's comments echoed the optimistic tone set forward Saturday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer tees up key Thursday vote on debt deal House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE (R-Ky.), who predicted in an interview with The Hill that the Kavanaugh win would be "a shot of adrenaline" for Republicans' chances in the midterms.

Heller is running for his second full Senate term in a state Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBen Affleck: Republicans 'want to dodge the consequences for their actions' through gerrymandering Republican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema MORE won over President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE by 2.5 points in 2016. The Cook Political Report rates his race against Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenFirst openly transgender Miss USA contestant eliminated before round of 16 Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall America's clean energy future cannot stop at state lines MORE (D-Nev.) as a “toss up.”

Heller is also hoping to be propped up by Trump’s endorsement in the race. The president rallied with Heller last month in Las Vegas.

“I've had no better friend in Congress than Dean Heller,” Trump said. 

Republicans currently hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, and any one race can decide which party gets control of the body next year, though they have a more favorable map than Democrats, with 10 Democrats running for reelection in states won by Trump in 2016.

The Kavanaugh nomination injected a heightened sense of partisanship in the Senate and excited both Republican and Democratic bases heading into the midterm elections. 

The bitter confirmation process escalated last month when Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor from California, came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party in 1982. Two other women later came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, all of which Kavanaugh denied.

"The fact that Senator Heller did not have a single reservation about confirming Judge Kavanaugh and even dismissed credible allegations of sexual assault against him as nothing more than ‘a little hiccup’ in the confirmation process shows that he’s clearly out of touch with Nevadans and never had any intention of being an independent voice on this Supreme Court nominee,” the Rosen campaign said in a statement.

"Voters will hold Senator Heller accountable for becoming just another rubber stamp for President Trump’s nominees and his reckless agenda in Washington," it added.

Multiple polls show a narrowing enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats heading into November after Democrats had opened up comfortable margins in recent months.