Things weren’t looking good for Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in her race against Republican Kevin Cramer. Her no-vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation made her poll numbers fall, but there was still hope at the incumbent’s camp that she could turn it around in the last three weeks.
Those hopes just blew up in their faces.
An ad posted to the Bismarck Tribune by her campaign attempted to shame Cramer by listing the names of dozens of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or rape who allegedly stood with her. Here’s the problem. Some of the women listed are coming forward saying they didn’t give permission to use their names, do not support Heitkamp, or weren’t victims as indicated by the ad.
By trying to pretend she was the sensitive one, Heitkamp outed victims against their will.
In a separate Facebook post, Eve Lancaster of Bismarck also indicates that her name was included in the letter without her permission. She describes herself as “disgusted” and “furious.”
I’ve communicated directly with two of the women who say they were misidentified and I’m working on getting more information from them.
I’ve reached out to the Heitkamp campaign for comment about this ad, asking how it came to be and how the names were chosen for the ad, but the Senator and her Senate/campaign staff don’t typically respond to me.
The irony here is that the ad was supposed to portray a thoughtful and proactive Senator who was willing to hear the concerns of victims. It demonstrated the exact opposite, demonstrating that neither she nor her team took the time to actually reach out to the women they were allegedly trying to support.
She has issued an apology of sorts.
“Sexual assault is a serious crime – and one that too many North Dakota women have experienced,” Heitkamp said. “In an attempt to bring awareness to this issue and push back against dismissive comments toward sexual assault survivors by Kevin Cramer, our campaign worked with victim advocates to identify women who would be willing sign the letter or share their story.”
Too little, too late.
This should be the end of her campaign. In a sane world, you can’t do something like that and still keep your job. This is the political world where sanity is not required, but hopefully the people of North Dakota will hear about this and be rightly disgusted.