The decision by Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s re-election campaign to brag about her close relationship with President Donald Trump – she votes with him most of the time as we’re all reminded, ad nauseum, in her campaign messaging – has created some odd spectacles as national left-wing groups work to get Heitkamp re-elected.
Last week Priorities USA, a Super PAC which spent millions trying to help Hillary Clinton defeat Trump in 2016, launched an ad campaign featuring a couple of out-of-state actors they hired to play “cranky” North Dakota rubes duped by Heitkamp’s opponent Congressman Kevin Cramer.
This week the VoteVets, “a group closely aligned with Congressional Democrats” as the New York Times has described them, has jumped into North Dakota’s Senate race. They’re running ads touting Cramer’s supposedly “shameful record” on veterans issues:
VoteVets Action Fund is announcing a #NorthDakota statewide television ad buy, today, that highlights @RepKevinCramer’s shameful record on veterans issues, in Congress. The ad will start today, and run through August 3, at a total cost of $270,000. #NDPol #NDSEN pic.twitter.com/oCGMOrcyJp
— VoteVets (@votevets) July 20, 2018
It’s odd that this group would be supporting Senator Heitkamp given, again, how hard she’s worked to align herself with President Trump. Remember when the North Dakota Democratic Party was mocking Cramer because Heitkamp got to stand closer to Trump than him at a bill signing ceremony?
The VoteVets think Trump ought to be investigated for treason:
To everyone who voted for Donald Trump. You own today in history. Don’t act like you’re offended now. You can’t run from this. You & the @GOP led Congress attacked this investigation into Russian interference from day 1. Today you saw the results of your efforts. #TreasonSummit
— VoteVets (@votevets) July 16, 2018
“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Trump's actions in #Helsinki are the founding fathers very definition of treason. #TreasonSummit #TRE45ON pic.twitter.com/UuUsm82NH6
— VoteVets (@votevets) July 16, 2018
In summary, Senator Heitkamp is busy trying to convince North Dakota voters that she’ll be an ally to the President the voted overwhelmingly in 2016 to elect while simultaneously getting assistance in attacking her opponent from a left-wing group closely tied to her national political party which basically thinks Trump is a traitor.
It’s almost enough to make you wonder if these national left-wing groups which are dumping money into this race to help Heitkamp win know something we don’t about her election year feint to the right.
As for the VoteVets ad itself, they got some fact checking from Roll Call which points out that they cherry-picked Cramer’s words for the ad:
The ad recounts comments Cramer made about military service, including a comment to Reuters in March in which he said continuing to vote to increase defense spending is “becoming a very difficult pill.”
In his full remarks to Reuters, Cramer called such spending a “high priority” and his comments were in the broader context of a longer-term spending package. Such packages are typically supported by defense hawks and appropriators, who argue that uncertainty caused by short-term spending bills damages the military. But the massive government funding packages are also distasteful to many lawmakers, particularly to Republicans trying to rein in spending.
In other words, Cramer didn’t oppose the defense spending bill, he opposed shorter-term spending bills that create uncertainty for the military.