Mitch McConnell did not mince words Wednesday about the impact now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation battle had on the midterm elections, saying it gave Republicans a much-needed “adrenaline shot” in the Senate races.
Speaking to reporters, the Senate majority leader acknowledged the GOP was worried about a lack of intensity – until voters got riled up over the handling of sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
“The Kavanaugh fight certainly provided that,” McConnell said.
Numerous accusers came forward during Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to allege sexual misconduct, leading to a dramatic hearing in which first accuser Christine Blasey Ford testified she was “100 percent” sure he assaulted her.
But Kavanaugh denied all the allegations, a supplemental FBI review could not support them, and Republicans accused Democrats of treating the nominee unfairly. In the wake of his confirmation, Republicans revealed one additional accuser fabricated her claims while challenging the credibility of several others. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also released a report claiming they found no evidence to support the claims.
McConnell, in his remarks Wednesday, noted that the one Democrat who backed Kavanaugh, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, won re-election Tuesday.
Several other battleground-state Democrats who opposed Kavanaugh were projected to lose, though it’s unclear whether their vote against the Supreme Court justice was a deciding factor.
Those senators included: Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and Florida’s Bill Nelson – though Nelson has not conceded and that race could be heading for a recount.
Overall, while Republicans lost the House, they will add to their majority in the Senate – with at least 52 seats, a number that could grow as ballots continue to be counted.
McConnell said Wednesday it was a “good morning” for Republicans, crediting President Trump for helping the party in the chamber.