In what was apparently a heated closed-door caucus meeting Senator Harry Reid was re-elected to his leadership post for the incoming Demcorat minority in the Senate. But one person who didn’t support keeping Reid at the head of her caucus was Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
“This was a change election,” Heitkamp told the New York Times. “I think that we needed to demonstrate that we heard the American public.”
I had written about the possibility that Heitkamp would be turning on Reid last week.
And it is quite the turnabout for Heitkamp who benefitted from millions on political spending by Reid and his political action committee in 2012. In fact, overall, Reid spent $3.37 million on electing Heitkamp both in direct contributions to her campaign and on ads attacking her opponent Rick Berg.
That’s a huge amount of political money in a state the size of North Dakota – it’s about $1.2 million more than both Rep. Kevin Cramer and his challenger George Sinner spent combined in 2014 – and it bought Heitkmap’s loyalty for her first two years in the Senate. She support Reid as majority leader two years ago.
But Heitkamp, either reading the tea leaves for the future in the Senate or perhaps planning on leaving the Senate for that much-rumored run for Governor in 2016, clearly feels she doesn’t owe Reid anything more.
Or maybe Reid just didn’t need her vote, giving her the opportunity to maintain that “independent” facade she spends so much time cultivating.