I was remiss in not posting about this earlier, but over the weekend CNN released new ratings for the Senate races and they see North Dakota moving toward a Republican pick up.
CNN has shifted Democrat Heidi Heitkamp’s re-election battle against GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer in the North Dakota Senate race from “toss-up” to “leans Republican.” https://t.co/JBitO9xWKI
— Alexandra DeSanctis (@xan_desanctis) September 9, 2018
Here’s their chart of their ratings shifts which, outside of North Dakota, mostly favors the Democrats:
Here’s an excerpt from why CNN sees Cramer ahead in the horse race:
One state where Republicans are increasingly bullish about their chances is North Dakota, where GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer is challenging Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in a state the President carried by 36 points. Trump was personally involved in the effort to recruit Cramer into the race and stumped for the three-term GOP lawmaker Friday night in Fargo. […]
Given Trump’s popularity in the state, Cramer’s unwavering support for the President could be a more potent pitch to voters than Heitkamp’s message of moderation. The national environment this year favors Democrats, but North Dakota is very much Trump country — and Cramer is Trump’s candidate.
Trump is factor, no doubt, and one that’s more advantageous to Cramer than harmful despite what many pundits in our state were predicting in the lead-up to this election cycle. But Trump’s hardly the only variable running against Heitkamp.
In 2012 she was able to eke out a win over Republican Rick Berg by a tiny margin because she ran as an independent minded moderate and largely distanced herself from her national party. Facilitating that election year feint to the right was the fact that Heitkamp a) hadn’t held public office in more than a decade and b) didn’t have a voting record she had to defend on the stump.
In 2018, for the first time in her political career, Heitkamp has a voting record (her previous elected office experience was all in the executive branch). While Heitkamp tries her I’m-in-the-middle schtick again, Cramer and Republicans can point to her voting record.