• Wed. Dec 2nd, 2020

A Republican senator argues a vote should not take place until after the election.

In a letter Friday night, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, urged his Republican colleagues “to be cautious and keep your powder dry until we return to Washington.”

But one G.O.P. senator is already making the case for not voting on a Supreme Court replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg until after Election Day.

“If we fail before the election, it really deflates our side,” said this senator. “And even if we succeed, it takes the prize off the table. And I think the prize is pretty motivational.”

In light of the sensitivities around the issue, and Mr. McConnell’s admonition, the lawmaker requested anonymity to offer a candid assessment of this extraordinary moment.

The senator, who had not spoken to Mr. McConnell, predicted the leader would come around to this calculation. “I’d be surprised if he doesn’t,” the senator said.

Why?

Because Mr. McConnell cares primarily about politics, and specifically retaining power, said the lawmaker. And to try to push a nominee through before the election could risk a demoralizing loss on the Senate floor — or simply force Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Martha McSally of Arizona into taking votes that would likely doom their electoral chances.