For months now Senator Heidi Heitkamp and her fellow Democrats have been trying to make an issue out of the campaign finances of her challenger, Congressman Kevin Cramer.
Remember that silly attack on mileage reimbursements which saw Democrats insisting Cramer was a “scam artist” because he couldn’t possibly have racked up over $1,100 in mileage reimbursements in one quarter. Yet when I did the math on it, that worked out to about 23.5 miles per day. Eminently doable, and in fact true based on an Associated Press review of the matter.
A variation on that same attack are claims that Cramer has been inappropriately paying his wife, Kris Cramer, to be his campaign manager. Again, Democrats have been making this claim for months, but Heitkamp’s campaign just trotted out an ad highlighting the talking point specifically:
There are some problems for Democrats making this talking point, not least of which is the fact that their own gubernatorial candidate in 2016, Marvin Nelson, had a family member as his campaign manager in 2016. Heck, the Democrat who held the Senate seat Heitkamp currently occupies before her, Kent Conrad, literally married his campaign manager.
Meanwhile, Kris is pushing back on the attack. “This new ad attacks me personally,” she said in a statement released by the Cramer campaign yesterday. “Clearly, Senator Heitkamp is only supportive of women when it suits her political objectives.”
“In 2012, I gave up my career and began working on Kevin’s campaigns,” she continued. “Since then, I’ve been working on his campaigns in a professional capacity. Should I not have worked in that role just because I’m his wife? Worse yet, should I have not been paid for my work just because I am his wife? I’m disappointed to think that Sen. Heitkamp would diminish a woman’s role like this and insinuate that it is somehow wrong for a woman to be compensated for her work.”
Kris has a master’s degree in speech communications, and according to the campaign release had a long career in communications prior to working on her husband’s campaigns. She’s paid a salary for her work on the campaign. When I did the math on the campaigns payments to her earlier this year, she has been averaging less than $25,000 in pay per year since the 2012 cycle.
According to PayScale.com the average political campaign manager makes just a bit under $54,000 per year.
Kris Cramer’s pay doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.