Johnson Becomes Second Democrat to Back Alito

Apparently the ads launched this week by the conservative Coalition for a Fair Judiciary in South Dakota are working in Samuel Alito’s favor.

Today Sen. Tim Johnson (D.-S.D.), a target of one of the pro-Alito spots, said he would vote in favor of Alito’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

"It does appear his legal skills are excellent and he is a person of integrity, and I do believe it can’t be said that his legal viewpoint is outside the mainstream of contemporary jurisprudence,” Johnson told the Associated Press. "It was somewhat of a close call for me.”

Johnson becomes the second Democrat to support Alito, joining Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

The pro-Alito television ads (click here to watch), announced Friday and reported on by HUMAN EVENTS at, targeted Johnson and Sen. Kent Conrad (D.-N.D.). The ads invoked Sen. Teddy Kennedy’s name—sending a message to two senators who hail from red states carried by President Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Now comes the test of unseating Johnson, who barely survived a race against then-Rep. John Thune in 2002. Thune, of course, went on to beat Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle in 2004.

As fellow my fellow blogger Matt Lewis has already pointed out today:

Many of these Red State Dems are continually re-elected because they have the resources to mislead their constituents into believing they are "independents" or "moderates."

That’s an excellent point. But perhaps the time has come when someone (in this case the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary) will hold these red-state Democrats accountable.