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Fight over Supreme Court already shaking up Senate races

September 23, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington,DC on August 5, 2020, to examine the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. (Photo by Erin Schaff / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ERIN SCHAFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The brawl over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's successor began before her body was buried. Within hours of her death on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."

Since then, almost every Republican senator running for reelection has announced their support for the process to confirm the to-be-announced nominee, shaking up the race for Senate control only six weeks out from Election Day. The quick embrace of McConnell's strategy could help Republicans in toss-up Senate races in purple and red states, including in North Carolina, Iowa, Georgia and Montana, although it could hurt them in others.

In 2016, Tillis, like almost every other Republican senator, supported blocking President Barack Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, from filling the seat left by the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

Tillis then attacked his Democratic opponent Cal Cunningham on Tuesday for supporting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who the senator said would nominate "radical left, activist judges that would be wrong for this country. " Cunningham responded that Tillis wrote a "blank check to the president" in supporting a Trump pick before it was even announced, when he should have been a "check and balance. "

Ryan Koopmans, a former top aide to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, said the Supreme Court vacancy could help Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in her race against Democrat Theresa Greenfield, noting that Iowa has a record of supporting conservative judges.

And after Ginsburg's death, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said that "nothing is off the table for next year" if Republicans replace her and he becomes majority leader.

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