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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum 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 DonnellyFormer Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador Biden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp11 former Democratic senators call for 'meaningful reform to Senate rules' Harry Reid, political pugilist and longtime Senate majority leader, dies Virginia loss lays bare Democrats' struggle with rural voters MORE (N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillBiden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid Harry Reid, political pugilist and longtime Senate majority leader, dies On The Trail: Trump-inspired challengers target GOP governors MORE (Mo.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSchumer opted for modest rules reform after pushback from moderates The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters Democrats' filibuster gambit unravels MORE (Mont.) will come back to bite them next month when they are up for reelection in states won by President TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case 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.