Senator Heitkamp Finally Agrees to Interview on My Radio Show, Just Not When I’m Hosting


FILE -- Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-S.D.) during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 12, 2018. Heitkamp is one of three Democrats who are up for reelection in states President Donald Trump carried and voted to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch. (Tom Brenner/The New York Times)

I’ve long been a critic of incumbent Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s resistance to accessibility, be it with the media or the public. The Senator doesn’t like to put herself in situations where she might get tough questions. Especially not in a setting where she might be asked to candidly react to comments or questions from the public directly.

Most recently my colleague John Hageman wrote an article about Heitkamp’s specific refusal to go on talk radio shows hosted by critics. That despite her opponent, Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer, regularly appearing on both conservative and liberal shows.

Heitkamp claimed in the article that she doesn’t have the time to do talk radio, despite frequent appearances on her brother’s show.

The Senator must have found some time (or perhaps became concerned that criticism of her nepotistic choices in radio appearances has been getting traction) because today she made a rare appearance on the Jay Thomas Show which airs after my midday show on WDAY. She even took phone calls, which is a rarity.

She also agreed to appear on my show.

Only not when I’m hosting. And she’s not taking calls.

I’m taking a vacation the latter part of this week, starting on Wednesday, and I asked Fargo City Commissioner Tony Gehrig to sit in for me on Thursday. Familiar with the fact that neither Senator Heitkamp nor her staff have bothered to so much as respond to any of my inquiries or interview requests in the nearly six years of her term in office, Tony asked me if I’d mind if he asked for an interview.

Of course I didn’t mind.

So Gehrig asked earlier today, and Senator Heitkamp’s office agreed to the request. She’ll appear on my show at noon on Thursday. She requested that Tony not take calls during the segment.

It’s great that the Senator is finally broadening her horizons a bit. If my criticism of the Senator has prompted her to more accessible to the public I’m gratified, even if her petulant avoidance of me specifically continues.

Also, she should be taking calls. Because c’mon. I’ve had a long standing policy of never, ever closing down the phones for any guest. I guess we’ll make an exception in this instance, but it still stinks.

Anyway, tune in! I’m sure it will be a great segment.