McConnell: Kavanaugh win 'a shot of adrenaline' for GOP midterm chances

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' Overnight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal MORE (R-Ky.) is hailing Saturday’s expected confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as a major boost to Senate Republican candidates in next month’s midterm elections.

McConnell told The Hill he spoke with his top political advisers on Friday, who said the bitter fight over Kavanaugh, and what he has called a “shameless smear campaign” by Democrats, has revved up the GOP base in red states.

“I talked to a couple of my political advisers yesterday and this has been a shot in the arm for us going into the fall election because it underscores the importance of the Senate and our role in personnel, and of course the most important personnel decisions we make are the courts, and particularly the Supreme Court,” McConnell said in an interview Saturday.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Our base is on fire,” he said, while predicting that expected votes against Kavanaugh by Democratic Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampCentrists, progressives rally around Harris pick for VP 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama MORE (N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocratic-linked group runs ads in Kansas GOP Senate primary Trump mocked for low attendance at rally Missouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties MORE (Mo.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - At loggerheads, Congress, White House to let jobless payout lapse Overnight Defense: Senate poised to pass defense bill with requirement to change Confederate base names | Key senator backs Germany drawdown | Space Force chooses 'semper supra' as motto Democrats call for expedited hearing for Trump's public lands nominee MORE (Mont.) will come back to bite them next month when they are up for reelection in states won by President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE in 2016.

“I’m doubly upbeat after this Supreme Court fight, which has been like a shot of adrenaline in our campaigns,” he said.

“Only one of the red-state Democrats voted in a way that helped them politically and that was [Joe] Manchin,” he said, referring to the West Virginia senator. “This is going to be a big issue over the next four weeks.”

McConnell signaled he's feeling good about how the Supreme Court fight has left his party entering the final stretch of the fall campaign, but he declined to say whether it would clinch a Senate GOP majority in 2019 and 2020.

“I never say that,” he said, when asked if he was confident that his majority is safe.

“You’re familiar with the places that are a dog fight: Arizona, Nevada, Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia and Florida,” he said, ticking off what he views as the most competitive Senate races. “They’re all like a knife in an alley.”

A recent poll by Public Opinion Strategies, a GOP survey firm, showed that voters in West Virginia favored the Senate confirming Kavanaugh by a margin of 58 percent to 28 percent. The same firm found that voters in North Dakota favored Kavanaugh 56 percent to 26 percent.