Aug 31, 2018

Inside the GOP's fight to make Kavanaugh a 2018 midterms issue

Brett Kavanaugh with Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With just two months until the 2018 election, the GOP is taking the Supreme Court fight to voters ahead of the midterms.

The state of play: The Republican National Committee (RNC) is launching a six-figure digital ad buy today directing people to a new website loaded with facts and press about Brett Kavanaugh. They hope to encourage voters to contact their Democratic senators about confirming him.

Why it matters: The final stretch before the midterm election is the most consequential time to get voters motivated to actually show up to the polls. Republicans believe this could be a winning issue for them in November, especially in the Senate.

  • In 2016, 26% of Trump voters said Supreme Court nominees were the most important factor in their 2016 vote, according to exit polls.
  • The primary emphasis of their digital ads will be in the 10 states President Trump won in 2016 that have a Democratic senator up for re-election.

The RNC — in coordination with the White House, Capitol Hill, and outside GOP groups — has already been going all-in on using Kavanaugh to rev up their base.

  • They immediately sent out digital emails and posts about him just minutes after Trump announced his nomination.
  • They've been on the airwaves with Kavanaugh-specific messaging and have incorporated SCOTUS picks into their scripts when knocking on doors.

What they're saying: "We’re going to make sure the American people know about the Democrats’ unprecedented level of resistance" to Kavanaugh, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Axios in a statement.

The bottom line: The GOP knows it needs every vote it can get to confirm Kavanaugh. If he's not confirmed, you'll likely hear a lot more from the GOP about "obstructionist Democrats" who are leading the "resistance."

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