DALLAS (CN) — Anti-Trump Republicans announced a $1 million advertising buy Tuesday blasting five GOP senators for refusing to confirm Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016 while currently supporting the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett two weeks before Election Day.
Republicans for the Rule of Law – a subsidiary of the conservative nonprofit Defending Democracy Together – said the 30-second TV ads will run against Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Rob Portman of Ohio, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Ted Cruz of Texas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin beginning Tuesday in their home states. None of the five are up for reelection this year.
In an ad entitled “Marco Rubio is letting Florida down,” Rubio is shown saying “in the last year of a president’s term, there should not be a Supreme Court nominee.” The group will spend $450,000 in Florida alone.
The ad asks Floridians to call Rubio’s office to demand passage of the next round of Covid-19 relief. U.S. equity market were up Tuesday afternoon on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stating that she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are “on a path” to a deal before her self-imposed deadline of the end of the day Tuesday for reaching an agreement before Election Day.
The Florida Republican Party did not immediately respond to an email message requesting comment on the ad campaign.
In a similar ad set to run in Texas, Cruz is shown stating “there is a long tradition that you don’t do this in an election year.”
President Barack Obama nominated Garland in the final year of his presidency to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died during a hunting trip in Far West Texas nine months before Election Day. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider the nomination and waited until after the election of President Donald Trump to confirm Neil Gorsuch in 2017.
Republicans for the Rule of Law spokeswoman Sarah Longwell said the group is seeking “to remind these senators that they took an oath” to do what’s best for the country, not to do what’s best for their party.
“By so shamelessly reversing themselves from four years ago, they force us to ask: Do they have the country’s best interests at heart now? Did they then? It’s one or the other,” she said in a statement.
Only two Republican senators – Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – have publicly stated their opposition to Barrett’s nomination after the Garland precedent, giving Republicans enough votes to force through Barrett’s nomination this weekend.
After Barrett’s largely uneventful confirmation hearing last week, Senate Judicial Chairman Lindsey Graham set a committee vote for Thursday in order to move for a full vote in the Senate.
The ad buy comes two weeks after the anti-Trump Republican super PAC the Lincoln Project launched a $1 million ad campaign in Texas, seeking to capitalize on the tightening race in the state between Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.