WASHINGTON -- With cracks starting to show in Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to ignore any Supreme Court nominee by President Barack Obama, a conservative activist group is about to start spending money to shore up McConnell's will.
The group, the Judicial Crisis Network, says it is going to spend more than $1 million to run TV, radio and online ads, especially in swing states currently represented by Republicans who are most likely to face a backlash for obstructing the Supreme Court.
The ads parrot the GOP position that with 11 months to go in his final term, Obama shouldn't get to fill the vacancy on the high court that opened with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend.
“We want to thank the U.S. Senators who say that the American people should decide who picks the next Supreme Court justice," said the group's chief counsel, Carrie Severino, in a statement announcing the campaign.
The ads aim to benefit Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), as well as McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
All except for McConnell are facing re-election fights in swing states.
Democrats, for their part, are trying to ensure that voters are aware of the blockade against Obama and predict that Republicans will pay at the polls in November.
The fact that a conservative group is mobilizing to keep Republicans in line -- with what appears to be the largest ad buy in the fight so far -- suggests they are worried Democrats could be proven right, or at least that they could scare the GOP off its course.
Below is one of the ads aimed at supporting Grassley, who at first backed McConnell but then said he wanted to see a nominee before deciding if his committee would hold hearings on the person.
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