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Supreme Court shake up could impact red state Democrats in midterms

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — yesterday’s retirement announcement from Justice Anthony Kennedy is putting pressure on red state Democrats seeking re-election in the 2018 midterms.

While some of his colleagues on the left push for a halt to any Supreme Court nominations until after November’s elections, Sen. Joe Donnelly said in a statement to ABC 57 News he’s prepared to consider and review a nominee presented by President Trump because it’s his job.

But could it also cost him his job in the fall?

“They’ll either have to join their fellow Democrats in obstructing President Trump’s eventual nominee or they risk alienating their base by voting to confirm,” said Michael Joyce, Republican National Committee (RNC) Indiana communications director.

Republicans are looking to give that ultimatum to who they’re calling vulnerable Democrats sooner than later.

After 30 years on the bench, Justice Anthony Kennedy called it quits Wednesday.

And the prospect of the president nominating his second justice is exciting for Republicans.

“We’ll definitely see what happens but the heat is definitely on for red-state Democrats right now,” said Joyce.

That puts Sen. Joe Donnelly in the spotlight.

He backed the president’s pick of Neil Gorsuch for SCOTUS last August, but what impact would another potential endorsement of a conservative judge have on his career?

ABC News political director Rick Klein does not believe his party would turn on him for being moderate.

“I think Democrats don’t have the luxury of turning away from a red state democrat that can win an election,” said Klein. “Whether that’s Joe Donnelly or Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota or Joe Manchin in West Virginia. I think Democrats will take anyone who calls themselves a Democrat these days if they represent a state that is so heavily Republican.”

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