Heitkamp Re-Election Now In Freefall

A red state Democrat senator is in absolute freefall. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat from North Dakota, has been declining in the polls ever since her “no” vote on Brett Kavanaugh. Republican challenger Kevin Cramer is now leading Heitkamp 56 percent to 40 percent. She’s also viewed unfavorably by 52 percent, which is up 11 since September. The poll implosion comes in the wake of a Heitkamp ad that featured survivors of sexual assault who did not give consent to have their names used, as well as a botched apology.

Heitkamp Used Survivors’ Names Without Asking

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is apologizing for running an ad featuring the names of sexual assault survivors without asking their permission. The ad, styled as an open letter to her Republican opponent Rep. Kevin Cramer, named off a list of women who are “survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or rape.” But in a Facebook outpouring a number of those women said they never gave their consent to be called out in a statewide political ad. Heitkamp apologized, while Cramer and allies said it proves Heitkamp is willing to exploit anyone for political advantage. 

—QUOTABLE: “I deeply regret this mistake and we are in the process of issuing a retraction, personally apologizing to each of the people impacted by this and taking the necessary steps to ensure this never happens again.” -Heitkamp statement

—QUOTABLE: “This is what happens when desperate people do things for their own personal political gain…She proved a point that her personal politics matter more than someone’s personal pain.” -Cramer in AP interview 

Heitkamp Was A Yes Before She Was A No

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp claims she was a yes on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh at first. But she says his body language when he was giving impassioned testimony after being accused of attempted rape back in the 80s changed her mind. The North Dakota Democrat said she “saw rage” in Kavanaugh’s demeanor while he was speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee, calling the confirmation “a circus” and “a national disgrace.” Heitkamp, who announced her opposition after a supplemental FBI report on Kavanaugh was given to senators, is down by about 12 points in her re-election battle.

—QUOTABLE: “We communicate not only with words, but we communicate with body language, we communicate with demeanor,” Heitkamp continued. “I saw somebody who was very angry, very nervous and I saw rage.” -Heitkamp

Heitkamp Feeling “Kavanaugh Effect”

One Democrat senator in a red state is suffering the “Kavanaugh effect.” North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp is down by 10 points in her race against Republican challenger Kevin Cramer. A poll by Strategic Research Associates found Cramer up 51-41 percent, a wider lead for Cramer than a June poll by the same group finding Cramer up 48-44. The poll also found 60 percent of North Dakotans support confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court—the poll, however, wrapped up before last week’s dramatic testimony by Kavanaugh and accuser Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee.