Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is up for reelection in Colorado, which is now a lean-blue state. His career may be over already. It will certainly be over if he votes to confirm a new justice before the election. Sen. Martha McSally is trailing in her race in Arizona. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis is narrowly trailing in his. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst is an a tight race, while Texas Sen. John Cornyn, Montana Sen. Steve Daines, Georgia Sen. David Perdue, and, well, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell all have races they can’t sleep on. For some of them, it might be useful to enthusiastically activate their state’s Republicans despite the ferocious backlash from Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters. For others it won’t. They’ll all have to figure that out immediately.
Then there’s Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. Would he go along with a straightforward power grab that would tear the country apart? Would retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander?
What McConnell’s statement does not say is when “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.” He left himself room, in other words, to hold the confirmation in the lame-duck session. If Trump wins reelection, that’s the ballgame anyway. If Biden wins? Lame-duck senators won’t be accountable anymore.