Roll Call: Armstrong Likely to Win North Dakota House Seat, Heitkamp at Risk in Senate Race


U.S. House candidates Democrat Mac Schneider, left, and Republican Kelly Armstrong debate on Saturday, May 5, 2018, during the North Dakota Newspaper Association's annual convention at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck. David Samson / The Forum

According to some prognostication by Roll Call – a Washington D.C.-based publication focusing on politics and Congress – Republicans are set to have a pretty good year here in North Dakota.

First, they’re saying state Senator Kelly Armstrong – a candidate for the U.S. House seat currently held by Senate candidate Kevin Cramer – is likely to win. They put him on a list of House candidates – five Democrats, six Republicans – who can “probably start packing for Washington because they’ve won primaries (or are prohibitive favorites to be the nominee) for such safe seats.”

Armstrong is at the top of that list. His Democratic opponent is former state Senator Mac Schneider.

I’m not sure Schneider deserves to be dismissed quite so readily. He’s a smart, competent guy and the impact of our state’s Senate race slug fest on this House race is anyone’s guess. I do agree that Armstrong has to be the favorite at this point.

Meanwhile, in the Senate race, Roll Call moved incumbent Senator Heidi Heitkamp up their list of the 10 “most vulnerable” Senators in 2018. She was ranked fifth. Now she’s ranked fourth.

Here’s their take on the race which they rate a “toss up” overall.

This makes sense to me, particularly if we consider the trend line for Heitkamp’s approval numbers in the Morning Consult poll. She’s gone from a 60 percent approval in July down to 44 percent last month while 49 percent of respondents in the most recent polling say it’s time to elect someone else:

I don’t feel comfortable saying Heitkamp will lose the Senate race. She’s a gifted politician, she has millions from out of state donors in the bank already, and she’s proven to have few scruples when it comes to savaging her political opponents.

Still, I think it’s safe to say that she’s losing the race at this moment in time. A lot can change between now and November.