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September 26, 2018 / Press Releases

MEMO: Up and Down the Ballot and Across the Country, Supporting Brett Kavanaugh Is a Losing Issue This November


Up and Down the Ballot and Across the Country, Supporting Brett Kavanaugh Is a Losing Issue This November

To: Interested Parties

From: NARAL Pro-Choice America

Date: September 26, 2018

It’s no secret that the anti-choice GOP has had trouble earning the support of suburban women this year as the party continues to push an anti-choice agenda and embrace Donald Trump, who has been accused of multiple accounts of sexual assault. New reports reveal that the GOP’s embrace of Brett Kavanaugh isn’t helping, either. From lying under oath, to sending secret emails questioning if Roe is “settled law” and asserting that the Supreme Court “can always overrule its precedent,” to the growing number of sexual assault allegations against him, Brett Kavanaugh is the last person who should hold the future of our bodily autonomy in his hands – and Americans will hold his GOP supporters accountable.

In the midst of growing calls for Brett Kavanaugh’s withdrawal, the GOP continues to put themselves in electoral danger – especially with  suburban women – as they choose to support him. Numbers don’t lie — for the GOP, supporting Brett Kavanaugh is a sure fire way to lose the support come election day:

  • Support for Brett Kavanaugh has hit a new low: From NBC/Wall Street Journal, “More American voters now oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination than support it after he was accused of committing sexual assault while he was in high school, with opposition increasing 9 points since last month, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.”
  • Beyond that, 93% of Democrats believe it’s important to know how the next Supreme Court Justice feels about abortion.
  • Supporting Kavanaugh means trouble in key states, like Nevada: Recent polling in Nevada, shows that supporting Kavanaugh tanks GOP candidates’ favorability among voters. Simply put, 44% of Nevadans would view Senator Heller less favorably if he voted for Kavanaugh.

Need more proof? Look no further than recent reporting that shows the GOP’s support for women is waning:

  • CNN: Republicans worry Kavanaugh allegation could drive suburban women away in midterms – “In swing states with governor’s races and districts with House seats up for grabs — particularly suburban regions where Democrats are counting on strong support from women — the allegation facing Kavanaugh could be most politically potent.”
  • New York Times: “…a Supreme Court nomination that was once seen as a political winner in many conservative-leaning states could, instead, rouse female voters and independents who otherwise may have cared little about the confirmation fight. Suburban women are pivotal in this year’s campaign, and many of them were already tilting toward Democrats because of their contempt for President Trump. If Republicans are too harsh in their questioning of Dr. Blasey, they risk inviting an even greater backlash at the ballot box in an election where their House majority is in peril and their one-vote Senate majority is teetering.”
  • CNN:  “Even before these developments, Republicans faced a perilous environment in white-collar suburbs rooted in discontent among college-educated white voters, especially women, over Trump’s tempestuous style, belligerent language and portions of his agenda. Both the Kavanaugh controversy and the Rosenstein speculation could reinforce two of the central sources of that suburban anxiety: concerns that Trump does not respect either women or the rule of law.”
  • Washington Post:  “The Republican Party’s fight to save President Trump’s embattled Supreme Court nominee amid allegations of sexual assault has surfaced deep anxieties over the hypermasculine mind-set that has come to define the GOP in the nation’s roiling gender debate… Democrats have embraced the #MeToo movement to galvanize female voters and attempt to lift scores of female candidates to victory in November’s midterm elections… By contrast, strategists in both parties say Trump’s agenda and style — and the fact that the GOP leadership stands mostly in lockstep with him — are undoing years of often painstaking work by party leaders to court more female and minority voters.”

But despite all of this… GOP candidates are still standing by Brett Kavanaugh. Rather than protecting the rights of women and families across their state, and believing survivors who are bravely stepping up to share their stories, the GOP has committed to stick by Brett Kavanaugh because – as Donald Trump promised –  he’s their ticket to overturn Roe v. Wade.

  • Dean Heller (R) U.S. Senate, Nevada
    • After meeting with Kavanaugh, Heller said, “I have no reservations in confidently supporting judge kavanaugh’s confirmation.”  [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 7/29/18]
    • And in response to sexual assault allegations about Kavanaugh, Heller said: “I’m really grateful for the White House, for the effort of President Trump and what he has done, and the excitement that we have… We got a little hiccup here with the Kavanaugh nomination, we’ll get through this and we’ll get off to the races.” [The Nevada Independent, 9/19/18]
  • Adam Laxalt (R) Nevada Governor’s Race
    • Adam Laxalt, has made a legacy of being anti-choice. Upon Kavanaugh’s nomination, Laxalt penned an op-ed oozing with flattery for Kavanaugh. [Washington Examiner, 7/27/18]
    • Laxalt has refused to denounce Kavanaugh, which comes as no surprise since Laxalt has touted the endorsement of serial sexual assaulter, Sheriff Antinoro.
  • Matt Rosendale (R) U.S. Senate, Montana
    • Immediately following Kavanaugh’s nomination, Rosendale tweeted his support for Kavanaugh. Rosendale tweeted, “Will @jontester side w/ the FAR LEFT left in Washington or Montana (Hmm …)? I’ll stand with the people of Montana and Trump to support Kavanaugh because there is no doubt that he will DEFEND our Constitution and PROTECT our Montana way of life.” [Twitter.com, 7/9/18]. He continues to stand by the judge despite Kavanaugh’s multiple lies and recent sexual assault allegations.
  • Karin Housley (R) U.S. Senate, Minnesota
    • In July, Housley wrote: “.@POTUS made an excellent choice in nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as the next associate justice of the #SCOTUS. Judge Kavanaugh is a respected legal mind whose career has been spent upholding both the rule of law and, most importantly, our constitution…At a time when our nation’s founding principles are increasingly called into question, Judge Kavanaugh will make a tremendous addition to the High Court. Now, it’s up to the Senate to do its job and swiftly confirm Judge Kavanaugh.” [Twitter, 7/9/18]
    • And here’s what Housley had to say in response to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations, “As I have said repeatedly before, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an excellent choice to be the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Senate must do its job and expeditiously confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Court. Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial temperament and professional credentials are not in doubt – yet partisan politics rule the day.” [Housley for Senate, 9/4/18]
  • Jim Renacci (R), U.S. Senate, Ohio
    • In an op-ed, Renacci had previously called Kavanaugh “a kind-hearted, brilliant, thoughtful, and experienced jurist who would make an excellent Supreme Court justice.” [The Toledo Blade, 7/28/18], and also said “Judge Kavanaugh should be confirmed to court.” [Ironton Tribune, 9/6/18] 
  • Leah Vukmir (R) U.S. Senate, Wisconsin
    • Vukmir had a petition to “support Judge Kavanaugh!” on her campaign website. She advertised the petition on Twitter: “After @realDonaldTrump announced his #SCOTUSPick, the liberals LOST it. Now, they are promising to do everything they can to prevent the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. Stand with me to support the president and Judge Kavanaugh!” [Leah Vukmir U.S. Senate, accessed 9/25/18, Twitter.com, 7/10/18]
    • Leah Vukmir: “What has become clear is that the Far Left is engaged in an all-out, no-holds-barred, last-minute character assassination, rather than responsibly vetting and filling a seat on the Supreme Court.  Democrats need to stop the political posturing, and hold a vote this week on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.” [The Associated Press, 9/24/18]
    • Vukmir claimed “The left will use any trick in the book to obstruct and stop Judge Kavanaugh from getting a fair hearing.” [Twitter.com, 9/25/18]
  • Peter Roskam (R) – IL-06
    • In Illinois, Peter Roskam, one of the most openly anti-choice members of Congress, has made no efforts to hide his support of Brett Kavanaugh, as evidenced in his statement of support praising Kavanaugh when he was first announced as the nominee. [Press release, 7/10/18]
  • Tom MacArthur (R) NJ-03
    • In response to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations, MacArthur said that he “believes Senate Democrats are using her accusations for cynical political purposes.” MacArthur said: “It can’t just be dragged out because Chuck Schumer and the Democrats are looking at this as a hook […]  I don’t believe they’re overly concerned about the woman that came forward. They just see a political opportunity.” [Washington Examiner, 9/21/18]
  • Leonard Lance (R) NJ-07
    • Lance has said, “I think that Judge Kavanaugh is a brilliant judge I tend not to believe the charges but they are serious charges but certainly we have a right in this country to confront our accusers and if the person who has accused the judge of bad behavior refuses to testify than I think that it would not to be a good thing.”
  • Rep. John Faso (R, NY-19)
    • John Faso stood by Kavanaugh during recent sexual assault allegations, saying: “I don’t know how you prove or disprove something that happened 35 years ago, and may be something unknowable,” he said. [Albany Times Union, 9/24/18]
  • Pete Sessions (R TX-32)
    • Pete Sessions praised Kavanaugh saying, “I look forward to the United States Senate swiftly approving this qualified candidate to ensure the highest court in our land is fully equipped with Justices committed to the fundamental principles of small government, separation of powers, and a strict adherence to the Constitution.” [Press release,7/10/2018]
  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R WA-05)
    • Cathy McMorris Rodgers has praised Kavanaugh and encouraged the Judiciary Committee to quickly confirm him, saying: “I applaud and support President Trump’s decision to nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Kavanaugh has devoted his career to public service, and he is certainly qualified for the job. He has a proven record of protecting the rule of law, and I trust that he will faithfully uphold the Constitution that we cherish as citizens of this great nation. I encourage the Senate to quickly confirm Justice Kavanaugh.” [Press release, 7/9/2018]
  • Dave Brat (R VA-07)
    • Dave Brat said, “Judge Kavanaugh is easily one of the most qualified and distinguished originalist jurists in America. Any Republican president would have considered him at the top of their lists.” [Press release,9/4/2018]

We know that Roe v Wade is two times more popular than Brett Kavanaugh. But instead, GOP candidates across the country, up and down the ballot ignoring the priorities of voters and choosing to support or stay silent on Brett Kavanaugh. The priorities of suburban women (and voters writ large for that matter) are crystal clear — they want their representatives to protect the constitutional right to abortion. But these candidates have hitched their wagon to Kavanaugh, and the numbers show that come November, they’ll pay for it.

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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