According to campaign finance disclosures, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp has spent over a quarter of a million dollars of her PAC money, her Senate campaign cash, and her personal money on helping Democrats in US Senate, US House, and North Dakota races. One candidate she’s given a significant amount of money to is House candidate Bruce Braley in Iowa who received $10,000 from Heitkmap’s Dakota Prairie PAC.
Braley’s campaign, meanwhile, is embroiled in controversy after Senator Tom Harkin, speaking in support of Braley, made an issue out of Joni Ernst’s looks.
“You know, in this Senate race, I’ve been watching some of these ads. And there’s sort of this sense that, ‘Well, I hear so much about Joni Ernst. She is really attractive, and she sounds nice,'” Harkin said on the stump for Braley. “I got to thinkin’ about that. I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift, or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michelle Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa.”
Ernst thinks that, were she a man, Harkin wouldn’t be making an issue out of her looks.
“I was very offended that Sen Harkin would say that,” Ernst told Fox News. “I think it’s unfortunate that he and many of their party believe you can’t be a real woman if you’re conservative and you’re female. I believe if my name had been John Ernst on my resume, then Senator Harkin would not have said those things.”
It is unfortunate, and I wonder what Senator Heitkamp thinks of the situation?
Heitkamp, after all, has made much of the importance of women in politics. She used the “war on women” tactics to edge out Republican Rick Berg in her 2012 Senate race, and came into office with something of a feminist chip on her shoulder.
Now a campaign she’s heavily invested in financially is guilty of some overt sexism against a woman in politics. Which presents Heitkamp with an opportunity to prove that her feminism is genuine and not just the product of partisan politics.
Will she take it? Or will she let her silence speak for itself?