The Battle Over Trump’s SCOTUS Pick Has Already Begun

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

The Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), a conservative law and policy coalition, is launching a $10 million campaign targeting red-state Democrats in support of President-elect Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

Though Trump has not yet determined who he will elevate to the high court, a nomination is expected in the earliest days of his presidency. In advance of the announcement, JCN began laying the groundwork for an aggressive effort targeting Democratic senators who stand for reelection in 2018, and mirroring states Trump won in November.

“We are preparing to launch the most robust campaign for a Supreme Court nominee in history and we will force vulnerable Senators up for re-election in 2018 like Joe Donnelly and Claire McCaskill to decide between keeping their Senate seats or following Chuck Schumer’s liberal, obstructionist agenda,” said Carrie Severino, JCN’s chief counsel and policy director. “The President-elect clearly has a mandate when it comes to the Supreme Court and this effort will ensure that the will of the people prevails.” (RELATED: Here Are The Early Favorites For Trump’s Supreme Court Pick)

JCN expects to spend $10 million on media buys, research, and coalition building, work which will be supplemented by other outside groups, including Tea Party Patriots, the Susan B. Anthony List, and America Rising Squared.

Also joining the effort is Sara Fagen, an alum of the Bush White House who worked on the nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito; Joshua Baca, who served as coalition director of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign; and Gary Marx, president of Madison Strategies.

Senate Democrats face a very difficult map in 2018. Incumbents facing reelection in states Trump won include Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Jon Tester of Montana, Joe Donnely of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bill Nelson of Florida, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

Heitkamp, Tester, Donnely, Manchin, and McCaskill make for particularly vulnerable targets, as Trump won each of their respective states by approximately 20 points.

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