WEEKEND MUST READS: Forum Blasts Heitkamp in Cramer Endorsement

North Dakota’s largest paper endorsed Kevin Cramer today, citing his accessibility and political views that align with North Dakota.

In their endorsement, the Forum Editorial blasted Heitkamp for her opposition to Justice Kavanaugh and her campaign for outing sexual assault victims without their consent.
In the fallout of this horrible mistake, Heitkamp promised accountability and transparency, but as Rob Port and National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis note in the stories below, she’s far from delivered.
ND voters should support Cramer for Senate, Armstrong for House
  • 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.
Heitkamp has yet to answer serious questions about campaign ad victimizing sexual assault survivors
  • 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 Campaign in Trouble as Election Day Approaches
  • 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.

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