STATEMENTS: North Dakota Veterans and Sen. Ben Sasse (NE) Criticize Chuck Hagel, Offer Strong Support for Cramer
Ret. General Mike Haugen:
Heidi Heitkamp has a well-deserved deficit in the polls after she outed victims of sexual assault without their consent, continued to campaign rather than apologize, then lied about it.
Now to save what for weeks has been the most vulnerable Senate campaign in the country, Heitkamp is continuing her apparent requirement that all surrogates be irrelevant Trump-bashing politicians, bringing former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to North Dakota:
LET’S BE CLEAR— Chuck Hagel has an anti-Israel, pro-Iran record, and was Defense Secretary as ISIS surged to power in the Middle East. Pro-Israel groups have been campaigning against Heitkamp this cycle, and today she is reminding them why.
“While Kevin Cramer gains support from North Dakota veterans, Heidi Heitkamp is campaigning with a man who let them down,” said North Dakota Republican Party Communications Director Jake Wilkins. “Hagel was dismissed from from this last position for doing a poor job, an experience he and Heitkamp will have in common after this November.”
Facing fierce backlash for outing victims of sexual assault without their consent, Heidi Heitkamp was asked by Anchor Chris Berg why she did not suspend her campaign to figure out exactly what happened and to prioritize personally apologizing to the victims of her actions.
Inexplicably, Heitkamp claims, “I pretty much did” in the interview:
LET’S BE CLEAR— Heidi Heitkamp absolutely did not suspend her campaign, not on the day reports surfaced or any day following.
Heitkamp was filmed by Showtime’s The Circus campaigning the day it was reported her campaign outed these victims without their consent:
The following day, her campaign launched a tone deaf attack ad focusing on women’s issues and issued press releases criticizing her opponent:
Two days later, as one of the victims of Heitkamp’s actions said she had not heard from the Senator, Heitkamp continued her attacks against Kevin Cramer and participated in their first debate:
“Nearly one week after Heidi Heitkamp outed victims of sexual assault without their consent, she is still not being truthful,” said North Dakota Republican Party Communications Director Jake Wilkins. “Many victims said this horrible tragedy ruined their lives, yet Heidi Heitkamp is dead set on continuing to lie to them and to the people of North Dakota.”
North Dakota’s largest paper endorsed Kevin Cramer today, citing his accessibility and political views that align with North Dakota.
- His [Cramer’s] conservative views are in sync with North Dakota voters, who appreciate his candor, and we support him in his bid to move from the U.S. House to the U.S. Senate.
- Cramer doesn’t flinch when advocating policies he favors, or in speaking against policies he opposes. He is not one of those politicians who keep a moistened finger in the wind. He’s always been one of North Dakota’s most accessible politicians.
- Heidi Heitkamp, who now holds the office, is a likable and able politician, but her views don’t align as well with those of North Dakota voters.
- We’re worried that, if elected to what appears to be her last term, she would vote with her fellow Democrats to block or unravel progress that has been made. Specifically, we cite her vote against Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.
- We’re also troubled that Heitkamp has said she didn’t approve the ad that named — in some cases erroneously — women as sexual abuse victims.
- We’re left wondering if she was more interested in making political points than advancing women’s rights.
- So far the only action we’ve seen from Heitkamp and her campaign is the firing of a staffer whose identity they’re not releasing to the public. Which means this unnamed staffer is being afforded more protection for his or her identity than the victims of Heitkamp’s ad were.
- Now that this firing has happened Heitkamp and her staff are back on the campaign trail with renewed attacks on her opponent, Rep. Kevin Cramer, as if they’re hoping the news cycle will turn over and this ugly episode will be behind them. That’s not owning this, senator.
- We must also know the name of the staffer who was let go, so we can understand what that person’s role was in the campaign and whether or not their dismissal was a genuine accountability move or a scapegoating.
- It’s hard to imagine this ad was organized and approved by just one member of Heitkamp’s staff. Did some intern or volunteer take a figurative bullet for a higher-profile member of the campaign? Again, we don’t know.
- Heitkamp also had to find a way to use the hour-long debate to recoup her losses from earlier this week, when news broke that her campaign had identified a number of constituents as victims of sexual assault without their consent. The names of these women were included as signatories of an open letter to Cramer, which the Heitkamp campaign ran as an advertisement.
- “The ad is about non-consent. Why would they just go ahead and take our names without our consent? It’s the same thing, just different case,” one of the women told National Review this week.
- Given how much negative coverage her campaign has received for the misstep, using her opening statement to apologize was the right tactical move — not to mention the right thing to do. But it undoubtedly was not how the flailing Democratic incumbent — running for reelection in a state that the sitting Republican president won by nearly 36 points — had hoped to start out the last debate of the election cycle against a popular, at-large congressman.
- The Heitkamp campaign is under fire again, this time for an advertisement apologizing to the women named in the previous ad. According to reports, the ad may have lacked the legally required disclaimer about having been paid for by a political-action committee. The newspaper that ran the ad says it received the payment from the Heitkamp campaign committee — which means the ad appears to be in violation of FEC guidelines. Heitkamp’s campaign has not responded to press inquiries on the subject.
North Dakota Republican Party Communications Director Jake Wilkins issued this statement the following another successful debate performance from Kelly Armstrong:
As Heidi Heitkamp deals with fierce backlash for outing victims of sexual assault without their consent in a political attack ad, she has promised her victims a personal apology and a retraction.
Is that what this is?
Buried at the bottom of a page in the Minot Daily News– with no indication of who paid for it- appeared this small note from Senator Heitkamp, which only quoted her campaign’s initial statement word for word:
REMINDER: Heitkamp’s first newspaper attack ad that outed these victims covered a full page ad and ran in every major newspaper across the state. Worse yet, Heitkamp still used this opportunity to criticize Kevin Cramer, proving once again that Heitkamp exploits whoever she can, whenever she can, for political gain.
And as for apologizing, Heidi Heitkamp and her campaign returned to politics as usual yesterday, continuing their smear campaign against her opponent. Meanwhile some victims outed by Heitkamp still had not heard from her.
As Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News last night, “Heidi Heitkamp needs to pick up the phone right now and call that young girl and apologize for getting her name in the national headlines.”
Liberal to the core, Heidi Heitkamp began her career as Jimmy Carter’s EPA attorney and has put special interests ahead of North Dakota’s energy industries ever since:
- During the Obama administration, Heitkamp took a series of liberal votes that were out-of-step with North Dakota’s energy industry:
- Heitkamp supported a harmful BLM environmental regulation limiting methane release on oil and gas operators.
- Heitkamp voted twice for higher taxes on the oil industry.
- Heitkamp supported Obama’s dangerous Iran Nuclear Deal, which opened world markets to Iranian oil, hurting North Dakota energy producers.
- During the Trump administration, Heitkamp voted against the tax cuts that opened up ANWR for drilling.
- Heitkamp also voted against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Justice Kavanaugh, whose previous rulings showed he aligned with North Dakota’s energy interests.
In opposing Justice Kavanaugh, Heidi Heitkamp made the cowardly decision to cave to Chuck Schumer and vote against North Dakota.
From the beginning, Heidi Heitkamp dutifully followed Chuck Schumer’s orders to “stay netural” as long as she could so Democrats could try to derail this nomination.
Heidi Heitkamp then opposed Justice Kavanaugh so national Democrats would help her try to save her failing campaign.
After Heitkamp opposed Justice Kavanaugh, she’s received pushback that is likely too much to overcome:
- The nation’s largest pro-life group blasted Heitkamp’s anti-life decision and announced they would mobilize in North Dakota against her.
- The NRA said Heitkamp “put partisan politics above the rights of law-abiding North Dakota gun owners” and endorsed Cramer.
- North Dakota voters overwhelmingly supported the Kavanaugh nomination and said it is their number one issue.