Here in North Dakota, despite her posturing to the contrary, incumbent Senator Heidi Heitkamp has developed a reputation for being inaccessible to the media. Particularly those in the media inclined to be critical of her, or ask tough questions, such as me. I’ve documented for some time now, ad nauseum according to some of my own critics, my unsuccessful efforts to get Heitkamp or even a member of her staff to even respond to an inquiry or request for interview.
Others in the state have had similar problems. At the national level, too, Heitkamp isn’t exactly accessible. Case in point, this report from Roll Call which describes the Senator as “practically jogging” to get away from reporters with questions about the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Cavanaugh:
"…vulnerable North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, whom the White House has signaled it will lean on, walked quickly — practically jogging — to get to her next destination as a throng of reporters asked her about Kavanaugh." #NDSen #NDpolhttps://t.co/khcZgyCKBs
— Rob Port (@robport) July 10, 2018
It wasn’t just Roll Call that noticed Heitkamp avoiding the press. The Hill newspaper observed it as well:
“Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) bolted from the Capitol out of the first floor exit instead of taking the Senate subway, where most reporters camp out.” @HeidiHeitkamp is legitimately running from reporters to avoid SCOTUS questions. #NDSen #NDPol https://t.co/uzBnfW0CIN
— Jake Blum (@RealJakeBlum) July 11, 2018
Not very flattering reports for Senator “Works With Anyone.”
Sadly, Heitkamp gets away with this behavior. Because for a lot of people who work in the media she’s got the right politics so she gets some deference. And even for those who don’t have that attitude, being critical of Heitkamp is a sure way to invite her staff to call your editors and producers and attempt to get you reined.
If you persist, you’re denied access.
Is that what we want from our elected officials in North Dakota?