Forget about a blue or red wave. What we saw in the Senate races last night was the Kavanaugh Effect. After the fundamentally unjust treatment of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his nomination to the Supreme Court, most Americans have sent a clear signal through the midterms that this sort of abuse of power will not be tolerated. And conservative women led that effort.
As of this writing, three Democrat incumbents have lost their Senate seat: Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. Each loss is directly related to their Kavanaugh “no” vote.
We know this because Concerned Women for America (CWA) state leaders in all three states led efforts to get them to do the right thing and warned them of the importance of their vote for conservative women.
In an August 7, Kansas City Star op-ed Bev Ehlen, CWA of Missouri state director, wrote:
Concerned Women for America of Missouri, the organization I lead, was proud to stand with Gorsuch, and we were terribly disappointed that Sen. Claire McCaskill decided to stand against him. … The good news is that McCaskill will get a second chance to do right by Missourians with the recent retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Will she listen to Missouri, or will she continue to do what her party in Washington dictates? If she listens to Missouri, she will vote for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. …
Bev was one of CWA’s most active leaders during the Kavanaugh nomination and throughout the elections. CWA Legislative Action Committee’s (CWALAC) “Women for Kavanaugh” bus tour visited the state and ran billboards. CWA of Missouri members contacted McCaskill’s office all throughout the nomination, and Bev even came for the hearings and visited the senator’s Washington, D.C., office. McCaskill did not heed the call of conservative women. She voted to oppose Justice Kavanaugh, and conservative women held her accountable. She lost her re-election bid.
The same script played out in North Dakota. As Real Clear Politics highlighted, CWA of North Dakota state director Linda Thorson delivered a similar message to both of her senators, emphasizing how vital it was for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s reelection bid. She said, “They should reject political partisanship once again and vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, especially, who is in a toss-up fight against Rep. Kevin Cramer, would benefit from rejecting the political machinations of her party’s leadership in Washington and stand with the people of North Dakota.”
North Dakota was, once again, an energetic stop in CWALAC’s “Women for Kavanaugh” bus tour. CWA of North Dakota members called and wrote emails asking Sen. Heitkamp to do the right thing and vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. She did not. And she is now the former senator from North Dakota.
In Indiana, NPR told the story after joining our bus tour in Indianapolis:
On a sunny afternoon last week in Indianapolis, a bus bearing a giant picture of Kavanaugh’s face pulled up in front of the state Capitol. After climbing off the bus, Janae Stracke, national field director with Concerned Women for America, told local activists she wants them to put pressure on Donnelly to support Kavanaugh, whom she calls “the next great justice.”…
Concerned Women for America is working with local activists like Susie Moore, a volunteer who is asking friends and neighbors to call or write Donnelly’s office and ask him to vote in favor of Kavanaugh. Moore said she’s opposed to abortion rights and concerned about what she sees as an erosion of religious freedom. She said the well-being of “future generations” is at stake in this fight.
But Sen. Joe Donnelly lost, so you know he did not listen to the voice of conservative women.
That is not all. Former Republican Governor Rick Scott in Florida is also set to take out incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson, who also voted against Justice Kavanaugh, ignoring the voice of thousands of conservative women who called for an end to the mob mentality that was destroying an honest man’s reputation without due process. CWA of Florida state director Terri Johannessen noted how the energy among conservative women increased exponentially following the Kavanaugh hearings.
Scott, on the other hand, capitalized on the opportunity, saying, “Judge Kavanaugh has been a fair and brilliant judge, one of our nation’s very best. He should be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.” The margin was small, which is why there will be a recount (as mandated by state law), but all indications are that Nelson also will lose his re-election bid to the Kavanaugh Effect.
One Democrat incumbent did listen to the voice of conservative women asking him to stand up to the mob mentality that was plaguing the Senate during the Kavanaugh hearings. His name is Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia – “coincidentally” another stop for the Women for Kavanaugh Bus Tour.
He voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. He won.
Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.