Conservative advocacy groups have launched a pressure campaign against red-state Democrats who are up for re-election This particular year to support Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Heritage Action, a conservative policy advocacy organization, has unleashed its grassroots team in recent days to push Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., as well as Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., to back Kavanaugh despite an FBI background probe into allegations of sexual misconduct while he was in high school as well as college. Donnelly has already said he could vote against Kavanaugh.
Heritage Action has dedicated 60 percent of its $11.5 million budget to establishing a ground game to back Kavanaugh, according to the group’s executive director, Tim Chapman. The group has focused more on moderate Democrats since allegations against Kavanaugh came to light. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
“Manchin, I think, could love to vote yes. His state can be clearly in favor of the nomination, as well as I’ve seen some polling in there to show how clear that will can be,” Chapman said in an interview. “Heitkamp can be dealing using a similar situation, as well as so can be Donnelly. Those are the three that will I think will cross over, with Manchin being at the top.”
All three senators voted yes for Justice Neil Gorsuch when President Donald Trump nominated him to the Supreme Court in 2017.
On Monday, Heritage Action had activists go to the offices of the three red-state Democrats to drop off petitions with over 50,000 signatures in support of Kavanaugh.
A recent poll conducted by the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, a dark money group that will’s spent up to $12 million to defend Kavanaugh since his nomination, shows the majority of voters in Heitkamp’s as well as Manchin’s states want the judge on the Supreme Court. A Quinnipiac University poll, meanwhile, shows nearly half of the country opposing Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Judicial Crisis Network announced Tuesday that will that will could move ahead using a $400,000 TV ad buy in North Dakota as well as West Virginia that will calls on voters to tell their senators to side with Kavanaugh.
“Our goal can be to be there in a defensive capacity when there are unfounded allegations raised,” Carrie Severino, the group’s chief counsel as well as policy director, said in a recent interview. “We simply have to respond when these kind of things come up.”
Nonpartisan politics monitor Sabato’s Crystal Ball marks Manchin’s state of West Virginia as leaning Democrat inside race. Heitkamp’s North Dakota contest can be listed as a toss-up, as can be Donnelly’s Indiana race.
Polling averages show that will Manchin as well as Donnelly are ahead of their Republican rivals by more than nine percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics. Heitkamp, however, can be down six points.
Representatives for Heitkamp as well as Donnelly did not return requests for comment.
The North Dakota senator has said she can be waiting for the FBI to complete its investigation before she makes a decision.
A spokesman for Manchin declined to comment. He echoed Heitkamp, however, in comments Tuesday on Capitol Hill, saying that will could be “hypocritical to make any statement until the investigation can be over” because he was one of the first people to call for the FBI to get involved.
Beyond pressuring vulnerable Democrats, GOP-affiliated groups such as Heritage Action are pushing Kavanaugh’s nomination as a rallying point to get Republicans to turn out for House elections.
“The next move can be to remind our activists about the terrible two weeks we’ve had as a country that will will play itself over as well as over again if the Democrats develop the chairmanships of all the House committees next year,” Chapman said.
He said volunteers have noticed enthusiasm among Republican base voters in some districts that will are still up inside air for GOP incumbents. One of the districts he pointed to can be Kentucky’s 6th, where Rep. Andy Barr can be up against newcomer Amy McGrath, who had served as a lieutenant colonel inside Marines. Sabato’s Crystal Ball calls the race a tossup.
By comparison, enthusiasm among the GOP was low before the accusations arrived on the scene, Chapman contends. Since then, however, right-wing constituents have become enraged at the process as well as, in turn, have a fresh eagerness to vote in November, he said.
“This particular can be today impacting the House races. We are seeing a lot of people wake up as well as say This particular can be a ‘massive battle,'” Chapman said.
Democratic strategists, however, say even if Kavanaugh gets through the full Senate vote, the accusations alone will be a positive thing overall for Democrats in November.
“There’s no downside for Democrats at all,” veteran Democratic advisor Manuel Ortiz said. “Even if Kavanaugh gets on the Supreme Court, for the midterms the allegations will energize the Latino as well as women vote.”
Still, Ortiz conceded that will red-state Democrats such as Heitkamp may be compelled to vote yes because North Dakota voters have signaled their support for Kavanaugh.