McConnell’s actions last month caused the derisive nickname #MoscowMitch to trend on Twitter as critics accused him of failing to give election officials the resources needed to fight expected Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election.
Republicans for the Rule of Law, a GOP group highly critical of President Donald Trump, launched a campaign earlier this month demanding that the Senate leader allow a vote on the bills. But McConnell hasn’t relented, so now the organization is taking out TV spots in the home states of four key senators: Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).
The ads urge the senators to stand up to McConnell to get a vote on the stalled bills. Republicans for the Rule of Law said the ads will run on “Fox & Friends,” “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday” in each senator’s home state as well as online.
“Don’t let Mitch McConnell stand in your way,” the spots conclude.
The videos mix news footage describing Russia’s 2016 interference with each senator’s own comments on the threat.
“Russia’s interference is a threat to our democracy,” Graham said in the footage. “If we don’t hit them hard, we will be empowering Russia.”
“I don’t think Vladimir Putin interfered in our election,” Rubio said in the spot slated to air in Florida. “I know he did.”
Graham, Rubio and Lankford are all cosponsors of election security bills. Blunt has said he will not bring up the bills for a vote in the Rules Committee, which he chairs.
The bills blocked by McConnell include a $775 million measure passed by the House that would shore up state election systems. McConnell has insisted that President Donald Trump is working to protect next year’s election and said the bills weren’t needed.
Trump has also indicated that he’d accept dirt on a political rival from a foreign power.
“They have information? he told ABC News in June. “I think I’d take it.”