Breaking news this afternoon is that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will be stepping down from his position later this year.
This, of course, will give President Donald Trump the opportunity to appoint another judge to the nation’s highest court. It also creates one one North Dakota political observer just described as a “nightmare scenario” for Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
BREAKING: US Supreme Court Justice Kennedy is retiring. https://t.co/nYAEF4XE35
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 27, 2018
Why is this bad for Heitkamp? After all, she ultimately voted to confirm Trump’s previous SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch. She can credibly say to North Dakota’s right-of-center electorate that she’ll probably vote for another of his nominees to the court too.
The problem is that even if Heitkamp is a reliable vote for Trump’s nominees, her presence in the United States Senate is one vote toward a Democratic majority that, in the aggregate, is going to vigorously oppose Trump’s appointment.
Heitkamp’s path to victory in 2018 lays with making the race very personal, and very narrowly focused on Cramer.
To put it bluntly, she wins by inspiring hate for her opponents.
Anything which nationalizes this race is very, very bad for Heitkamp.