Yesterday on my radio show I had on Dustin Peyer.
Peyer is a former legislative candidate, the current chairman for the Democratic Party in District 28, and a man who says he’s going to challenge incumbent Senator Heidi Heitkamp in the 2018 cycle.
At a time when Democrats and their various allies are all-in on beating up Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer, a man many believe is the most likely Republican challenger for that seat next year, Peyer’s candidacy illustrates that not all Democrats happy with Heitkamp’s job performance.
Peyer will be officially announcing his candidacy later this week at a rally before the capitol in Bismarck, an event at which last year’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Marvin Nelson (D-Rolla) is also speaking.
“There are people who aren’t satisfied with how she voted on Trump’s nominees,” Peyer told me when I asked why he’s running against Heitkamp, adding that she “doesn’t support Medicaid for all” and needs to be “held accountable.”
“It’s about recognizing that over 60 percent of North Dakotans voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary,” Peyer continued.
The Bernie contingent among North Dakota Democrats has been a thorn in Heitkamp’s side for some time now. During the Democratic National Committee convention in 2016 a group of North Dakota delegates approved what was described as a “harsh resolution” condemning Heitkamp saying she was “disrespectful to the people of our great state” for supporting presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Heitkamp ended up not casting her super delegate vote.
Does Peyer have a chance at taking Heitkamp’s nomination away? It seems unlikely. All ideology aside, most Democrats have to know that Heitkamp is simply their best shot at holding that Senate seat in 2018.
But does Peyer’s candidacy illustrate that the Democrats, despite their fierce and early engagement in the 2018 Senate race, have some deep divisions which could manifest in problems later this cycle?
Here’s the audio: