With the Senate GOP majority in peril, Republicans view the Supreme Court confirmation fight as an opportunity to energize conservative voters, particularly as Trump lags behind Joe Biden in most national polls and faces criticism for his response to the coronavirus crisis. Unlike previous confirmation hearings, this one is taking place just weeks before Election Day on an uncharacteristically fast timeline. Public polling suggests that the majority of Americans want the Supreme Court seat filled after the election.
Graham, the chair of the Judiciary panel and a close Trump ally, faces an unexpectedly tight race with Democrat Jaime Harrison. While South Carolina is still considered a lean red state, several polls have Graham and Harrison tied. Meanwhile, both Ernst and Tillis are in toss-up races in Iowa and North Carolina that could decide control of the Senate and Cornyn is likely in the most challenging reelection bid of his career in Texas politics.
In an interview, Graham suggested that the hearings could help his closing argument.
“If you ask me what’s the most important thing I could be seen as doing in South Carolina? Confirming a Supreme Court justice, a conservative justice,” Graham said. “It doesn’t hurt me at all to be doing my day job for something this important.”