Former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced her run for President in 2016.
I think we can assume that North Dakota’s only Democrat elected on the statewide ballot is squarely in her corner.
Way back in 2013 Heitkamp, then in her first year in the U.S. Senate, joined every other female Democrat in the Senate in signing a letter urging Clinton to run in 2016. And Heitkamp has always been a bit of a sexist when it comes to politics. “With women I will say this,” Heitkamp said in an interview with USA Today 2013. “I think we measure our success on results not whether or not we get our picture in the newspaper.”
Can you imagine a male politician getting away with that sort of a blanket indictment of the vanity of female politicians? But Heitkamp is a woman, and thus a victim, so I guess it’s ok to suggest insulting things about people based on their gender.
What’s ironic is that way back in 2000 when Heitkamp was running a gubernatorial campaign against John Hoeven she worked to actively distanced herself from Hillary Clinton. “Heitkamp said the GOP should stop trying to bring Hillary Clinton into the gubernatorial race,” the Associated Press reported at the time. “They’re not running against Hillary Clinton in North Dakota. They’re running against Heidi Heitkamp,” Heitkamp herself was quoted as saying.
Outside of the secret letter Heitkamp signed she hasn’t, at least to my knowledge, voiced any public support for Clinton. It will be interesting to see how visible Heitkamp is willing to be. North Dakota doesn’t like Democrat presidential candidates generally (no Democrat running for the White House has carried North Dakota since Lyndon Johnson), and Heitkamp is in a ticklish political spot. She’d like to run for Governor in 2016, and even if she doesn’t she’s on the ballot herself in 2018.
Her election in 2012 was by the slimmest of slim margins – less than one percent of the statewide vote – and I’m not sure how much political capital she has to spend on supporting Hillary Clinton.
Not that North Dakota is a state of any particular importance to presidential campaigns, but I wonder if Heitkamp (should she choose to run) will have to spend another gubernatorial campaign distancing herself from Hillary Clinton.