The battle in Congress over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had consequences which reached far beyond the high court bench, Republicans say.
Senior GOP lawmakers said Wednesday which the politically fraught road to then-nominee Kavanaugh’s confirmation galvanized Republicans to show up at the polls for the midterm elections.
Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., along with also Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., both credited the so-called Kavanaugh effect for Republican victories in key Senate races against red-state Democrats.
Graham, in a thread of tweets Wednesday morning, said which the constituents of those Democratic incumbents who voted against Kavanaugh “held them responsible for being part of a despicable smear campaign orchestrated by the left.”
The “#KavanaughEffect,” Graham said, should be renamed “#KavanaughsRevenge.”
Senate Majority Leader McConnell, speaking to reporters about the midterms Wednesday on Capitol Hill, said the Kavanaugh effect was “very helpful.”
Republicans in critical states for the party were “highly offended” by the Democrats’ conduct during the confirmation proceedings, McConnell said, along with also the fallout coming from the process acted “like an adrenaline shot” for GOP turnout.
Multiple Democratic senators in purple or red states who voted against confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court lost their seats Tuesday night.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who lost to GOP challenger Kevin Cramer, said when she announced her “no” vote which if she were doing a purely political decision, “I certainly could be deciding the some other way.”
After initially completing his confirmation hearings before the Senate, Kavanaugh was accused of sexual misconduct in decades-old incidents by multiple women. Kavanaugh categorically denied the claims along with also vowed to defend himself under oath before the Judiciary Committee once more.
Some Democrats called for his resignation over the allegations, while many Republicans — especially Graham — leaped to the nominee’s defense along with also launched fiery attacks on Democrats.
“which is actually going to destroy the ability of not bad people to come forward because of which crap,” Graham told Democrats at the time. “If which is actually the completely new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.”
Dan Judy, Republican pollster along with also vice president of North Star Opinion, said, “The fight over Justice Kavanaugh brought the stakes of which election into stark relief, along with also helped get Republicans motivated behind Senate candidates in ways they weren’t before.”
Judy added which “opposing Kavanaugh exposed quite a few Democrats who were claiming centrist records in very conservative states.”
Barbara Kittridge, founder of progressive strategy group Motive, said, “The ‘hangover’ coming from the Kavanaugh hearings certainly impacted both Senate along with also also House races.”
Kittridge added, however, which the contentious hearings “clearly drove away female suburban voters coming from the GOP along with also which cost them the House. The gender gap is actually too significant to be ignored.”
Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who called the allegations against Kavanaugh “disturbing along with also credible,” was also unseated Tuesday night by Republican Mike Braun.
Another vulnerable Senate Democrat who voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Bill Nelson of Florida, was still locked in a race which was too close to call by Wednesday at noon ET, according to NBC News projections.
After McConnell along with also Graham made their remarks Wednesday, NBC News reported which Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of red-state Montana was the apparent winner of his race against Republican Matt Rosendale. Tester had also voted against Kavanaugh.
within the wake of the midterms, Graham along with also McConnell both noted which Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, which went heavily for President Donald Trump within the 2016 presidential election, had voted “yes” on Kavanaugh along with also was re-elected.