Out of State Activists Offered Plane Tickets on Social Media to Campaign for Heitkamp in North Dakota


U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp (D) debates Kevin Cramer (R) on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, at North Dakota State University. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

When news broke earlier this month of Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s gusher of out-of-state campaign contributions, earned thanks to her vote against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite polls showing North Dakotans wanted him confirmed, the response I heard most from people was this: “How is she going to spend it all?”

It’s a fair point. With North Dakotans already under a barrage of internet ads, TV ads, and mailers are several million more dollars really going to help?

But ads aren’t the only way campaigns can spend money.

Case in point, this Facebook message clipped by Robbie Lauf (a former staffer for Governor Doug Burgum currently attending the Harvard Kennedy School) which is asking people in Massachusetts to fly to North Dakota and work for Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

The post says the plane ticket would be paid for and that this is a non-partisan initiative, though that’s a little hard to believe given the goal here is to campaign for a partisan candidate for the U.S. Senate:

Who is paying for the plane tickets?

It’s not clear from this message.

I was able to identify the Facebook user who made the post, and I reached out to her last night for comment though she hasn’t responded. I’ve also contacted the Heitkamp campaign in an attempt to discern their involvement in this, but they don’t typically respond to my inquiries.

Heitkamp’s vote against Kavanaugh may not have been the way most North Dakotans wanted her to vote, but it does seem to have bought Heitkamp a lot of support from left wing activists and donors around the country who are now descending on North Dakota to try and help her pull off a come-from-behind victory.

Whether or not this will work remains to be seen.