MINOT, N.D. — This week Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said farewell with an address on the floor of the Senate.

The timing was less than ideal.

Delayed a week because of the passing of former President George H.W. Bush, Heitkamp ended up delivering her goodbye while her fellow Democrat, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, was in the White House mocking the importance of election victories in North Dakota.

I’m not sure what Schumer’s point was, beyond his political party’s generally dismissive attitude toward rural America, but if he’s saying Republican victories in “red” states like North Dakota are no great accomplishment he should remember Democrats had held the seat Heitkamp current occupies since John F. Kennedy was elected to his first term in office nearly six decades ago.

North Dakota may be a deeply Republican state, but that Senate seat has been a Democratic stronghold longer than most of us have been alive.

Losing it was, as former Vice President Joe Biden might say, “a big [expletive] deal.”

But I digress.

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