There is absolutely no question that the primary challenge North Dakota Democrats like Senator Heidi Heitkamp face is the record of their national party. While they are here in North Dakota trying to portray support for a generally pro-fossil fuel, somewhat limited government platform their national party exudes hostility for fossil fuel and giddy support for expansive government.
This was why, when Heitkamp was first campaigning for the U.S. Senate in 2012, she ran about as far away from Barack Obama as she could. A member of the North Dakota Democrat Party’s executive committee was even threatening lawsuits against anyone who dared use video of Heitkamp endorsing Obama at the Democrat National Convention, and Heitkamp herself actually skipped her party’s 2012 national convention.
Heitkamp’s status as a Democrat and Barack Obama supporter is not and has never been convenient for her here in North Dakota.
Nor, for that matter, is Heitkamp’s support for Hillary Clinton.
Way back in 2013 Heitkamp, then in her first year in the U.S. Senate, joined every other female Democrat in the Senate in signing a letter urging Clinton to run in 2016. Now, more than two years later, Clinton is actively campaigning for the White House and backing a policies on fossil fuels that aren’t going to play well with North Dakotans.
During the “relaunch” of her scandal-plagued campaign, Clinton described her stance on fossil fuels thusly:
…we will make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. Developing renewable power, wind, solar, advanced bio-fuels, building cleaner power plants, smarter electric grids, greener buildings, using additional fees and royalties from fossil fuel extraction to protect the environment and to ease the transition for distressed communities to a more diverse and sustainable economic future. From coal country to Indian country. From small towns in the Mississippi Delta to the Rio Grande Valley, to our inner cities. We have to help our fellow Americans.
The video is below.
The obvious question for Heitkamp is why she continues to support candidates like Barack Obama (who she voted for twice despite her election-year maneuvering) and Hillary Clinton who are so far out of step with how she portrays herself politically?
The NDGOP has taken note, too. “This is one more example of how Heitkamp does one thing in Washington, but says the opposite when she’s here in North Dakota,” party Chairman Kelly Armstrong said in a release today. “She can’t say on one hand that she supports North Dakota’s oil, coal and natural gas industries, and at the same time support a candidate for President who wants to put those industries out of business.”
Well, yes she can. And she can probably expect to never, ever be asked for an explanation for her support for Clinton given these comments about fossil fuels. Because we all know what happens when a North Dakota journalist asks Heidi Heitkamp the tough questions.