The big news yesterday was that President Barack Obama finally confirmed his visit to North Dakota. He’ll be visiting Cannon Ball, North Dakota, at the northern tip of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, a visit he scheduled after rejecting an invitation to visit the state offered by Rep. Kevin Cramer, a Republican, last year.
When news of Obama’s visit first leaked, I wondered how Democrats in the state would react.
I predicted that they would keep their distance, and so far that’s proving true. At least in a rhetorical sense. Both US Senator Heidi Heitkamp and US House candidate (Cramer’s challenger) Geroge Sinner were quick to point out when Obama’s visit announced that they don’t always agree with him.
“Senator Heidi Heitkamp says she does not always agree with the president, but they can work together to improve opportunities for Native American children,” reports Amber Schatz for KXNews.
“While I may not agree with the president on some issues, we both absolutely agree that giving Native families and children every chance to succeed is imperative. I look forward to joining him on his visit to Standing Rock,” Heitkamp is quoted as saying by Nick Smith at the Bismarck Tribune.
“State Sen. George B. Sinner, D-Fargo, welcomed the news of Obama’s visit. In a statement Sinner, who’s running for Congress, echoed Heitkamp’s sentiment in stating he doesn’t always agree with Obama on everything, such as energy policy,” Smith also reported.
This isn’t surprising. Heitkamp barely won her US Senate race in 2012, and Sinner is a major underdog in his race against Cramer.
President Obama is, politically speaking, toxic in North Dakota. No doubt Sinner and other North Dakota Democrats hoping to for success on the ballot in November are hoping President Obama sticks to Native American issues while in the state.