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ACLU's $1M in anti-Kavanaugh ads won't target Flake, Collins

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Monday said it purchased more than $1 million in ads opposing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The group is targeting Republicans in four states with ads that compare Kavanaugh to other men toppled by the "Me Too" movement against sexual harassment and assault.

The spots will not target two of the most pivotal swing votes — Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden eyeing Cindy McCain for UK ambassador position: report Profiles in cowardice: Trump's Senate enablers McSally concedes Arizona Senate race MORE (R-Ariz.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat Biden brushes off criticism of budget nominee Scammers step up efforts to target older Americans during pandemic MORE (R-Maine) — but they will target the third undecided vote, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMcConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return Pressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Bipartisan, bicameral group unveils 8 billion coronavirus proposal MORE (R-Alaska).

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The ads will call for Murkowski, as well as GOP Sens. Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerTech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska GOP senators pan debate: 'S---show,' 'awful,' 'embarrassment' MORE (Neb.), Cory GardnerCory GardnerMark Kelly to be sworn in as senator on Wednesday Hillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities MORE (Colo.), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoMcConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return Graham: Trump should attend Biden inauguration 'if' Biden wins As Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on MORE (W.Va.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing MORE (Alaska), to vote "no" on Kavanaugh. Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinFunding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms Obama says Democrats should make sure Ocasio-Cortez has a platform Ocasio-Cortez hits back after Manchin criticism MORE (D-W.Va.) is also being targeted by the ACLU.

The ACLU is comparing Kavanaugh's denials of sexual misconduct to those from Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein and convicted felon Bill Cosby.

Fair Shakir, national political director at ACLU, told The Hill they are trying to target Republicans other than Collins and Murkowski.

"So far, many of the other Republicans have not received as much pressure and heat," Shakir said. "It’s not fair to put it all on Collins and Murkowski to be the conscience of the nation."

"[It's] my impression and understanding is that Collins and Murkowski are more likely to oppose if they know and feel that there’s going to be other Republicans who are inclined in that direction," he said. 

The ads will target Murkowski's counterpart Sullivan (R). They will also call out Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who is often overshadowed by Manchin in discussions about Kavanaugh's nomination. 

"Everyone’s forgotten that there’s another senator in that state," Shakir said.

He said the ads are aimed towards "conservative and moderate women in those red states."

The ad buy comes days after the ACLU put out a rare statement opposing Kavanaugh's nomination to the high court. The ACLU has only opposed four Supreme Court nominees since it was founded in 1920.

The group's Colorado ad juxtaposes Kavanaugh, who has denied allegations of sexual misconduct from three women, with clips of Cosby and former President Clinton.

"We've seen this before," a voiceover says. "Denials from powerful men."

The ad highlights the famous clip of Clinton saying during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

The ad also includes an image of two women watching the a clip of Kavanaugh denying the allegations against him during last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

"America is watching, and as we choose a lifetime seat on our highest court, integrity maters and we cannot have any doubt," the voiceover concludes.

The men featured in the ad include Matt LauerMatthew (Matt) Todd LauerComcast shareholders reject proposals for outside sexual harassment investigation at NBC Ronan Farrow fires back at Matt Lauer 'shoddy journalism' accusation: 'Just wrong' Megyn Kelly calls independent Tara Reade interview the 'wave of the future' MORE, who was fired from NBC's "Today" after facing allegations of sexual harassment; Weinstein, who has been accused of raping or harassing dozens of women and now faces criminal charges; and talk-show host Charlie RoseCharles Peete RoseIranian official maintains Tehran has 'no knowledge' of American hostage's whereabouts 'Bombshell' bombing at box office isn't exactly a shock — here's why '60 Minutes' producer alleges CBS News retaliated after she reported inappropriate behavior MORE, who was ousted over sexual harassment allegations.

The ad buy is part of an anti-Kavanaugh campaign organized by the ACLU that will include phone banks, online petitions, congressional office visits and a national day of action, according to the organization.

Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women. He has denied their accusations.

The ads will run this week as the FBI is expected to complete its one-week probe into the allegations, which was ordered by the White House after Flake insisted he would vote against Kavanaugh's nomination if there wasn't an FBI investigation first.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate.

-Updated 3:15 p.m.