Senator Heidi Heitkamp was a major beneficiary of (now lame duck) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s campaign largesse in 2012. In addition to $10,000 in contributions made directly to Heitkamp’s campaign, Reid’s Majority PAC spent $3.37 million on independent advertising attacking Heitkamp’s opponent Rick Berg.
My how things have changed.
With Democrats reeling from election day losses – Heitkamp herself went 1-11 in Senate campaigns she contributed to/campaigned for – there’s a debate over who will lead their minority Senate caucus in the new Congress. Asked if she’d be supporting Reid to stay in a leadership position, Heitkamp refused to answer.
Many Senate Democrats are frustrated by Mr. Reid’s autocratic style, and on Wednesday, Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota gently stoked speculation of caucus rebellion when she refused to say whether she would support Mr. Reid for re-election next week.
“The caucus is going to make a decision,” she said.
Pressed to be a little more specific, she went on: “I’m telling you what I’m going to do is, I’m going to talk about what I think needs to change. And I’m going to look for someone who’s willing to embrace that change.”
Remember, Heitkamp won by a margin representing less than one percent of the vote. Reid’s millions may well have swung the couple of thousand votes that was Heitkamp’s margin of victory over Berg. If she turns on Reid, burning a bridge, is that evidence her future plans include a leap from the Senate to the governor’s office in Bismarck?
Heitkamp’s party remains marginalized in North Dakota, failing to make up an ground against Republicans. But then, Heitkamp has to be feeling pretty marginalized in Washington DC right now too:
If Landrieu loses, the Senate will be down to 5 red (Romney) state D Senators: Manchin Tester Heitkamp McCaskill Donnelly
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) November 6, 2014