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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Senate GOP opens door to earmarks McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' 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 DonnellyEverybody wants Joe Manchin Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampBill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives Harrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment MORE (N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden tasks Harris on border; news conference today Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens tangles with Hugh Hewitt in testy interview The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality MORE (Mo.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's infrastructure plan triggers definition debate Lawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Five things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan MORE (Mont.) will come back to bite them next month when they are up for reelection in states won by President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Romney on NRSC awarding Trump: Not 'my preference' McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' 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.