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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions What if 2020 election is disputed? Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval 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 DonnellyK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Obama honors 'American statesman' Richard Lugar Former GOP senator Richard Lugar dies at 87 MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight Fight over Trump's new NAFTA hits key stretch Former senators launching effort to help Dems win rural votes MORE (N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillCongress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Lobbying world Big Dem names show little interest in Senate MORE (Mo.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Overnight Defense: Trump officials say efforts to deter Iran are working | Trump taps new Air Force secretary | House panel passes defense bill that limits border wall funds MORE (Mont.) will come back to bite them next month when they are up for reelection in states won by President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address 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.