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Liberal super PAC launches ads targeting vulnerable GOP senators over SCOTUS fight

A prominent liberal super PAC is launching a new digital ad blitz targeting vulnerable Republican senators over the new Supreme Court fight gripping Washington following the death of Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Democratic senator votes against advancing Amy Coney Barrett nomination while wearing RBG mask GOP clears key hurdle on Barrett's Supreme Court nomination, setting up Monday confirmation MORE.

American Bridge 21st Century is launching digital ads hitting GOP Sens. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstTrump looms over Ernst's tough reelection fight in Iowa Democrats lead in 3 of 4 Iowa House races: poll The Hill's Campaign Report: Obama to hit the campaign trail l Biden's eye-popping cash advantage l New battleground polls favor Biden MORE (Iowa), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in Democrats seek to block appeal of court ruling ousting Pendley, BLM land plans MORE (Colo.), John CornynJohn CornynDallas Morning News poll shows Biden leading Trump in Texas Biden's oil stance jars Democrats in tough races The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in MORE (Texas), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Texas and North Carolina: Democrats on the verge? Trump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report MORE (S.C.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisBiden and Trump neck and neck in three Southern states: poll 10 under-the-radar races to watch in November Pence adviser Marty Obst tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (N.C.), all of whom are facing competitive reelection battles.

All five senators have expressed support for President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Trump looms over Ernst's tough reelection fight in Iowa Democratic senator votes against advancing Amy Coney Barrett nomination while wearing RBG mask MORE’s (R-Ky.) plan to fill Ginsburg’s vacancy this year, drawing ire from Democrats who note the GOP declined to fill a seat in 2016 under then-President Obama.

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The ads, obtained exclusively by The Hill, work to highlight remarks the senators made in 2016 when Republicans, led by McConnell, declined even to hold a confirmation hearing for Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination GOP clears key hurdle on Barrett's Supreme Court nomination, setting up Monday confirmation Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session MORE, Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his death that February.

“I think this nominee should be chosen by the American people. The will of the American people should be heard, the next president should make that determination of who our next justice of the Supreme Court should be,” Gardner said in a 2016, comments featured in the ad against him, followed by text reading, “He’s preparing to break that promise.”

In his own 2016 remarks, featured in the South Carolina ad, Graham said, "I want you to use my words against me. We’re setting a precedent here today, Republicans are, that in the last year that you’re not going to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court."

The ad campaign is the latest sign Democrats are preparing to go on offense as Republicans look to confirm a nominee from Trump prior to inauguration day in January.

McConnell appeared to lock up the necessary votes needed for the GOP to overcome the 50-vote threshold in the Senate after Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Memo: Five reasons why Trump could upset the odds Will anyone from the left realize why Trump won — again? Ratings drop to 55M for final Trump-Biden debate MORE (R-Utah), seen as the last of a small handful of potential swing votes, announced he would be open to confirming a Supreme Court pick this year.

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Several other groups have rolled out ad blitzes against senators in the hopes that Democratic voters will be fired up over the Supreme Court vacancy this cycle, whereas GOP voters have been more enthused over judiciary appointments in past election years.

“A Supreme Court vacancy less than seven weeks before Election Day has dramatically raised the stakes in an already pivotal election for this country’s future,” American Bridge President Bradley Beychok said in a memo shared with The Hill. “A woman’s right to choose, voting rights, environmental protections and policies that level the playing field for working families all hang in the balance.”

“There will be no stone left unturned and nowhere for Republicans to hide. We will take the fight to Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans, and any nominee they attempt to force through before the American people have had their say.”