Heitkamp Campaign Tries to Manufacture a Controversy With Ridiculous Stunt


N.D. Senator Heidi Heitkamp answers a question posed by the Grand Forks Herald editorial board on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign yesterday tried to get one of its operatives into Congressman Kevin Cramer’s press conference yesterday, and the subsequent maneuvering from the campaign is an interesting peek into how the Heitkamp political machine operates.

Mary Rennich, a Democratic party activist and ardent Heitkamp supporter who is named in press releases from Heitkamp’s Senate office, attended the press conference Cramer and other Republicans were holding on the issue of health insurance.

Rennich, by the way, is also appearing in ads from the Clinton super PAC Priorities USA:

No doubt the intent was for Rennich to manufacture some sort of a YouTube moment the Heitkamp campaign could capitalize on, but the Cramer campaign blocked her entrance to the event.

This morning Rennich went on the Senator’s brother’s radio show to complain about being blocked from the event, and then the Heitkamp campaign touted the interview in a release to the news media.

The Heitkamp political machine is touting this as an example of Cramer refusing to talk to a constituent with pre-existing conditions. In fact, that’s literally the headline from the Heitkamp campaign: Cramer Campaign Wouldn’t Let Constituents with Pre-Existing Conditions into Health Care Press Conference

In review the Heitkamp campaign:

  1. Sent an operative to a Cramer campaign event.
  2. Used that operative’s ejection from the event as fodder for an interview on a Heitkamp-controlled media outlet.
  3. Pitched that interview to other news media as fodder for negative stories about Cramer.

The whole thing is as pathetic as it is cynical.

But this is what Senator Heitkamp has to do to win elections. She has to inspire hatred for her opponents, because if she campaigns on the issues she loses.