Earlier this week a reader sent me a mailer he’d received from the Tom Campbell campaign which still had the state Senator running against Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp for the U.S. Senate.
The problem being that Campbell switched his Senate race into a House race weeks back when North Dakota’s current congressman, Kevin Cramer, announced that he was running for the Senate.
It was an embarrassing, if somewhat minor, gaffe but not a good look for a candidate who needs to convince Republicans that he’s a competent enough candidate to hold that House seat for the party. Particularly given how much money Campbell has paid out of his own pocket for marketing and high-profile political consultants.
But today I learn from a Fargo-area reader that Campbell for Senate ads are still on the airwaves in that market. On AM1100, just before ardent Campbell supporter Scott Hennen’s show (I’m told Hennen will be introducing Campbell at the state convention next month), my reader told me an ad stated “we need to send Tom Campbell to the U.S. Senate.”
I reached out to Stacy Bossart, the senior sales executive for AM1100, and she confirmed that the ad ran.
“The advertising agency sent us the wrong ad,” she told me this morning. “We’re addressing it.”
Again, not a good look for the Campbell campaign.
North Dakota Democrats want us to believe that their party is re-energized after getting a shellacking in the 2016 election cycle, though as I noted in my most recent print column that’s a little hard to buy given some of their struggles with candidate recruitment. But one area where they’re strong is the House race. In state Senator John Grabinger, alongside former state lawmakers Mac Schneider and Ben Hanson, the Democrats have a crop of serious (if not especially strong) candidates.
Republicans have to take the House race seriously, and given some of the Campbell campaign’s bungling, can it be said that he’s serious about winning?
I reached out to Campbell campaign manager Lucas Paper for comment but he didn’t respond.
UPDATE: “The ad should not have run,” Paper texted to me this morning. “It is being pulled and will be replaced with an updated version.”