Keeping a conservative majority in the United States Senate and winning with constitutionally minded candidates in key state races will have significant implications for the nation and for religious liberty, says Tim Chapman, vice president of Heritage Action for America, part of the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Institute.
As of press time, the likelihood that the Senate would confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominated to the Supreme Court by President Trump to replace retiring moderate Anthony Kennedy, was strong, Chapman said—maybe with as many as 55 votes if several moderate Democrats in conservative states bow to constituents.
“Having a Senate majority is absolutely critical,” Chapman said. “And then at the next level is confirming judges at lower levels. … Because we’ve seen that the lower courts are often just as critical in this fight for religious liberty as the Supreme Court is. The lower courts oftentimes set the direction for the cases that come before the Supreme Court.”
Looking across the country, Chapman said several races are key.
- IN WEST VIRGINIA, Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey is working to unseat centrist, pro-choice Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who throughout the summer hadn’t signaled how he would vote on the Kavanaugh nomination.
- IN MISSOURI, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is in a neck-and-neck race with Republican challenger Josh Hawley.
- IN INDIANA, another tight race for Senate involves incumbent Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, trying to stave off his Republican challenger, Mike Braun.
- IN FLORIDA, the governor’s race is both intriguing and nationally significant, as it pits a conservative Republican congressman and bronze star Navy officer, Ron DeSantis, against a Democrat who proudly wears the socialist label, Andrew Gillum. Chapman said the results of this swing-state race could be a bellwether for the nation’s political mood at a time when the left is attempting to promise cradle-to-grave security in the state.
“As conservatives, we are not offering radical individualism or isolation. What we are offering is community. We need to be offering security in community, security in civic and faith institutions, and in the family. There’s where you find security and where you find your value as a human being.”