Senate Brief: Republicans On Kavanaugh Assault Allegation: Ignore, Dismiss, Distract

Week of Monday, September 17.

IN BRIEF: A sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is putting Republican Senate candidates in a pickle.

After months of blind support for Kavanaugh’s nomination, GOP candidates will face increased scrutiny on a nominee they thought was airtight. And if their reactions so far are any indication, don’t hold your breath for Republicans to do the honorable thing.

  • Josh Hawley was dogged by questions from reporters after the first Missouri Senate debate last Friday. Asked about the allegation, Hawley said the Senate should move forward and vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Asked “Do you believe the woman?,” he refused to answer and made a quick exit.
  • Dean Heller doubled down on his support for Kavanaugh in a local radio interview conducted hours after the allegation was made public, saying “America will be better off” with a Justice Kavanaugh.
  • Marsha Blackburn called for the nomination to go forward, dismissing the allegation as a “delay tactic.”
  • Lou Barletta said it was “unfortunate” the allegation had surfaced in “the 11th hour,” “leaving little option for…a fair hearing.” He also said Sen. Feinstein had “played politics” with the assault allegation.
  • Kevin Cramer called for the nomination to proceed, saying “it is hard not to be skeptical considering the timing and history of the allegations.”
  • That’s it! No other Republican Senate nominee has commented on the allegation. That’s pretty noteworthy silence from a group of candidates who have spent months calling on their opponents to support Kavanaugh.

THREE TO WATCH:

  • Rick Scott is under fire — again — for his intention to pack Florida’s Supreme Court. It’s a brazen tactic for a governor who’s often been accused of abusing his office. And it sure won’t help with his reputation for suppressing the will of the people.
  • Matt Rosendale is facing a campaign finance complaint after leaked audio suggested he coordinated with the NRA in violation of campaign finance laws, actions that one former FEC official said are “clearly sufficient to warrant the FEC investigating the matter.”
  • Martha McSally is increasingly playing nasty in her race against Kyrsten Sinema. Her dirty tactics have already earned her a “Mostly False” from PolitiFact, and a new nickname — “McSully.” Now, Arizonans have called her allies’ latest attack ad “as low as you can get.”

THREE NUMBERS:

  • 80. Number of votes taken by the House of Representatives since July 2018.
  • 57. Number of votes Marsha Blackburn has missed since July 2018.
  • 71. Percentage of votes missed by Marsha Blackburn since July 2018.

*Numbers courtesy of the Tennessean.

ONE FOR THE ROAD: “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” Green Day (2004)

AND HAPPY MONDAY from American Bridge. Follow us at @AmeliaPenniman @EmmaBeckerman1