New Ad Portrays Donnelly as a Schumer Pawn Ahead of His Kavanaugh Meeting

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Sen. Joe Donnelly / Getty Images

With Sen. Joe Donnelly (D., Ind.) scheduled to meet with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh this week, his Republican challenger Mike Braun is challenging him to break with party leadership and get behind President Trump's nominee.

Braun's campaign is launching a new digital ad campaign on Monday morning, saying Donnelly needs to receive "permission" from Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) to vote to confirm Kavanaugh. The ad, obtained first by the Washington Free Beacon, asks whether Donnelly "will get permission to confirm Judge Kavanaugh?"

Ad from Mike Braun campaign

"Though I have no doubt Senator Donnelly will wait until Chuck Schumer and the liberal wing of his party grants him permission to support Judge Kavanaugh, I challenge Donnelly to immediately join me and the majority of Hoosiers who support his nomination," said Braun. "President Trump has selected a eminently qualified jurist for the highest court and it’s disappointing that Senator Donnelly needs permission from his party to support him."

Braun has already claimed credit for pressuring Donnelly into meeting with Kavanaugh at all, criticizing him for taking much longer to schedule a meeting with Kavanaugh than it took for him to schedule one for Justice Neil Gorsuch. Donnelly had said he would "take the same approach as I have previously for a Supreme Court vacancy," but then he took more than twice as long to agree to meet with Kavanugh.

The reason for the delay was Schumer, who had called on his caucus to "boycott" meeting with Kavanaugh. Donnelly was one of three Democratic senators who scheduled meetings with Kavanaugh before Schumer ended the boycott on August 3.

Schumer has been pushing Donnelly and others running for reelection in states where Trump is popular to delay announcing support for Kavanaugh, repeatedly telling them in caucus meetings to " keep their powder dry for as long as possible," according to a Politico report.

Donnelly will meet with Kavanaugh on Wednesday. Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 4.