North Dakota Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp became nationally infamous after she celebrated a vote to defeat a ban on late-term abortions. Now she is trailing her pro-life opponent in her battle for re-election.
In January, Democrats in the United States Senate gave each other a high five, normally meant to celebrate camaraderie and a job well done, on something dark and disgusting. After the vote to defeat the bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, Democrats on the Senate floor gave each other a high-five. How members of the Senate can explain their actions is beyond most Americans — as fully two-thirds of Americans believe late-term abortions on viable unborn babies ought to be illegal.
All but three Democrats voted to keep late-term abortions legal as did two Republicans. And after the vote, Heitkamp gave Chuck Schumer a high-five, or whatever the awkward move was that was captured on C-Span.
Now, Heitkamp trails Rep. Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican who is facing off against her in November. Cramer, who has served three consecutive terms in the House, decided to challenge the vulnerable Democrat and a recent poll shows him with a 10 percent advantage. An NBC Valley News poll from late September has Cramer ahead 51-41.
Leading pro-life groups think Heitkamp can be defeated in part because Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 36 percentage points in North Dakota in the 2016 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) is launching a $400,000 ad campaign aimed at flipping the last two remaining undecided Democrats to vote in favor of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Heitkamp and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Overall, the majority of North Dakotans want Kavanaugh confirmed by 56 percent.
A breakdown of the poll, which collected data between Sept. 27 and 29 in West Virginia and North Dakota after accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, shows women in both states want a vote to confirm Kavanaugh by 52 percent and 50 percent respectively. The margin of error of the data is 3.56 percent.
Although Republicans supported Kavanaugh and believed his testimony over Blasey Ford significantly in both states compared to Democrats, even independent voters sided with President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick over Blasey Ford, who claims Kavanaugh pinned her down and attempted to remove her clothing at a high school party nearly 35 years ago. Sixty-two percent of independents in West Virginia and 50 percent in North Dakota believe Kavanaugh over Blasey Ford, according to the polling data. Fifty-nine and 51 percent of independent voters in the respective states would vote to confirm the nominee as well.
“Clear majorities in North Dakota and West Virginia — including women and Independents — support Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation,” Judicial Crisis Network’s Chief Counsel and Policy Director Carrie Severino said in a statement Tuesday. “Senators Heitkamp and Manchin need to decide whether they stand with Judge Kavanaugh and President Trump, or with the outrageous smear campaign unleashed by Chuck Schumer and the liberal mob.”
Heitkamp is polling 6 points behind her Republican opponent Kevin Cramer, according to a Real Clear Politics poll taken between June 13 and Sept. 27, making her one of the most vulnerable Democrats this midterm season.