Maybe Heidi Heitkamp Could Give Some of Her Left Over Money to Her Campaign’s Victims


Sen. Heidi Heitkamp concedes the North Dakota senate race, at an election night event in Fargo, N.D., Nov. 6, 2018. (Hilary Swift/The New York Times)

Senator Heidi Heitkamp has a lot of money left over from her unsuccessful 2018 campaign.

Earlier this year the Senator’s vote against confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh bought her a tidal wave of money from left wing political donors across the country. “So much money was flowing into North Dakota that it appears she had trouble spending all of it,” Michael Beckel, an analyst for Issue One, told MarketWatch recently.

The Senator has some $6.8 million in campaign cash left, per her campaign’s most recent reports, and many wonder what she’s going to do with it.

If this humble observer might make a suggestion, perhaps Heitkamp could spend it on helping the people her campaign hurt.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Money can’t fix undo any of those harms, but it might help some of these women feel safe and whole again.[/mks_pullquote]

For instance, the roughly two dozen women (and possibly more) who were outed as sexual assault survivors in a print ad Heitkamp’s campaign ran earlier this year would no doubt appreciate some help. Some of those women I spoke to said that ad might have disclosed where they’re living today to their attackers. Others said the ad was how friends and family members found out about their assaults for the first time. Still others said their friends and family were made to believe they’d been sexually assaulted, despite the fact they hadn’t been.

Money can’t fix undo any of those harms, but it might help some of these women feel safe and whole again.

At one point some of the victims of Heitkamp’s ad were talking about filing suit against the campaign. I haven’t checked in with them to see where they’re at on litigation, but hopefully they’re aware that the campaign has a big pot of money available for any settlement. Short of that, perhaps Heitkamp’s campaign could make a charitable donation to an appropriate group which supports and advocates for sexual assault survivors.

Another possible recipient could be hunters.

During the campaign the North Dakota Democratic Party ran ads trying to convince hunters not to vote lest they put their out of state hunting permits in jeopardy. This claim was utterly bogus, and a clear effort to suppress conservative-leaning votes, but Heitkamp herself defended the ad.

A substantial donation from Heitkamp’s campaign to a hunting education group would go a long way toward undoing some of the harm that ad did.

I think it’s deeply unlikely that Heitkamp will choose to do any of this – the outgoing Senator didn’t even have enough grace to congratulate her opponent on election night – but she should.