Democrats have few options to stop Senate Republicans from confirming President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee but the Arizona Senate race offers the party a glimmer of hope, The Associated Press reports.
Arizona Republican Martha McSally was appointed to her seat in 2018, meaning that her race against former astronaut Mark Kelly is technically a special election.
Under Arizona law, the winner of the election will be sworn in as soon as the election is certified. That date will be around November 30.
Republicans hold a 53-seat majority in the Senate. Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have already said they do not support confirming a justice before the election, though they left the door open to doing so during the lame-duck sessions after the election.
If the process stretches into late November, Democrats could narrow the Republican majority, though they would still have to convince three Republicans to oppose the nominee.
Kelly has led McSally in all but one poll since July 1.
He holds a 6.7% lead, according to RealClearPolitics’ poll average.
Kelly has also outraised McSally $46 million to $30 million.
"This U.S. Senate should vote on President Trump's next nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court," McSally said on Friday, warning that "if Mark Kelly comes out on top, HE could block President Trump's Supreme Court Nominee from being confirmed."
"When it comes to making a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, Washington shouldn't rush that process for political purposes," Kelly said. "This is a decision that will impact Arizonans, especially with an upcoming case about health care and protections for pre-existing conditions. Arizonans will begin casting their ballots in a few weeks and I believe the people elected to the presidency and Senate in November should fill this vacancy."
Dems consider packing court:
Short of stopping the pick, some Democrats have suggested expanding the Supreme Court if Republicans confirm a nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
"Mitch McConnell set the precedent. No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year," Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said Friday. "If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court."
But it’s unclear how much support the idea has.
"I would not get into court packing," Joe Biden said last year. "We add three justices. Next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all."