Conservative and Liberal Groups Gird for Battle Over Kavanaugh


To counter the activism on the left, conservative activists are relying on a surge of energy that will make opposition to the nominee difficult for wavering senators.

“We have a proven bloc of voters, and in the states that matter, we have a better chance of getting more motivated voters,” said Gary Marx, an adviser to the Judicial Crisis Network, who pointed to states like West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana and Alaska.

Social conservatives, who represent much of Mr. Trump’s base, are also gearing up for a protracted confirmation battle even greater than with Justice Gorsuch, whose nomination came on the heels of Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

Groups like the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America have been anticipating this moment for decades, in hopes of finally tipping the court in a conservative direction and even overturning abortion rights. Both will spend at least a half-million dollars on advertising.

The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political group that is pressuring vulnerable Democratic senators in the upcoming midterm election, commissioned a poll by the Tarrance Group that found that majorities of voters in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and West Virginia want their Democratic senators to support Mr. Trump’s nominee. In North Dakota, 68 percent of polled voters wanted Senator Heidi Heitkamp to vote to confirm the nominee, and in Indiana, 56 percent of voters wanted Senator Joe Donnelly to do so.

Starting Tuesday, the group has grass-roots news events planned in North Dakota, West Virginia and Indiana, and in the coming weeks, it has planned digital ads, emails and in-state events in those states, and also in Missouri and Florida.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition is slated to spend a million dollars to target voters in 10 states with direct mail, digital ads, texts and emails, and also to support Senator Charles E. Grassley in Iowa, should he face resistance at town hall-style meetings, as happened during the Gorsuch nomination. In those 10 states, the group also plans to activate its network of 15,000 churches and target its list of 20 million voters, who are largely evangelical or Roman Catholic.

“This is our highest legislative priority,” said Timothy Head, the executive director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition.


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