I had to laugh when I read this Politico piece this morning headlined, “North Dakota’s last Democrat?”
It’s a profile of U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp – the only Democrat to win an election on North Dakota’s statewide since 2008, thus the headline – and it focuses on whether she wants to run for re-election in 2018.
Which is the disingenuous part, because Heitkamp laughably feigns uncertainty about her political career.
“There’s days I have doubts … I mean this is a hard life,” says the Senator who has already raised $1.6 million for her re-election campaign, a mountainous total (by North Dakota standards) coming mostly from special interest groups and out-of-state donors.
“You know, I haven’t made up my mind,” says Heitkamp who previously leaked some details of her aforementioned fundraising haul to Politico (the same people responsible for this puff piece) back in April. Weeks before she filed her report with the FEC.
Heitkamp doesn’t have doubts. She isn’t uncertain about her political future.
She’s posturing. Her supposed uncertainty isn’t genuine. It’s calculated.
People who aren’t sure whether they actually want to run for re-election or not don’t work to haul in one of the largest, if not the largest, first-quarter fundraising hauls in state history. People who have doubt don’t leak favorable fundraising figures to the press.
Don’t get me wrong. This is savvy and effective political maneuvering. North Dakota voters will eat this stuff up. They love humility in their leaders.
Say what you want about Heitkamp, but she is a skilled politician who knows how to say exactly what voters want to hear.
So this is good politics.
It’s also phony as hell.
Heitkamp will absolutely be on the ballot in 2018. If the Senator had any doubts about that, she put them away a long time ago.