Cory Gardner in Spotlight Over Senate SCOTUS Vote

Colorado senator seen as a possible no vote on successor before Election Day
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2020 2:28 PM CDT
Colorado's GOP Senator in Tight Spot Over Ginsburg
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Mitch McConnell already had two GOP senators say they don't think the Senate should vote on Ruth Bader Ginsburg's successor before Election Day. And Republicans have only a three-vote majority over Democrats, meaning McConnell wants no more defections. So who might flip? The New York Times has Colorado's Cory Gardner, Utah's Mitt Romney, and Iowa's Charles Grassley as possibilities, for different reasons. None has explicitly said what he intends to do on Ginsburg. Grassley has previously said a court vacancy shouldn't be filled in an election year, though other GOP senators have changed their views on that. Romney, of course, broke with Republicans to vote in favor of impeachment. And Gardner is in a different boat—he's faced with a tough re-election fight and getting pressure from both directions.

Gardner is a moderate in a blue state, per an analysis at Politico. "If he opposes Trump and McConnell, he will certainly lose support on the right," writes Andrew Desiderio. "And he already has strong opposition from Democrats, who view him as a rubber stamp for McConnell. So this will be a critical choice for Gardner." For now, all Gardner has said is that politics should be set aside until the nation mourns Ginsburg, reports Fox News. But time is short: The late justice will lie in repose at the Supreme Court Wednesday and Thursday and will lie in state at the Capitol on Friday, per the Hill, and President Trump plans to announce his nominee Friday or Saturday. Meanwhile, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network is rolling out a $2 million ad campaign over the vacancy to raise pressure on vulnerable Republicans such as Gardner, reports Axios. (In another scenario, it might all come down to Arizona's special election.)

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