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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of government Overnight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' 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.

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“Our base is on fire,” he said, while predicting that expected votes against Kavanaugh by Democratic Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party Senate approves funding bill, preventing partial government shutdown MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction Gary Cohn criticizes the shutdown: 'Completely wrong' EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks MORE (N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump AG pick Barr grilled at hearing | Judge rules against census citizenship question | McConnell blocks second House bill to reopen government Ex-Sen. McCaskill joins NBC, MSNBC Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE (Mo.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Dems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE (Mont.) will come back to bite them next month when they are up for reelection in states won by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build Trump Tower in Moscow during 2016 campaign: report DC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees 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.