When Senator Heitkamp Needs to Address a Sticky Issue She Retreats to the Friendly Confines of Her Brother’s Radio Show

Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota candidate for U.S. Senate, stands with her brother and KFGO radio personality Joel Heitkamp in downtown Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Hillary Clinton, disgruntled former presidential candidate, has become a real problem for Democrats in places like North Dakota.

Democrats like embattled incumbent Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

Recently Clinton bashed red states like North Dakota as backward.

“If you look at the map of the United States, there’s all that red in the middle where Trump won,” she told an audience in Mumbai (video here). “I win the coast, I win, you know, Illinois and Minnesota, places like that.”

“I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product,” she continued. “So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards.”

She also summed up President Trump’s campaign message like this: “You didn’t like black people getting rights, you don’t like women, you know, getting jobs,” she said. “You don’t want, you know, see that Indian American succeeding more than you are. Whatever your problem is, I’m going to solve it.”

It’s worth remembering that Heitkamp was an ardent supporter of Clinton’s candidacy. All the way back in 2013, years before the 2016 election day, Heitkamp signed on to a letter urging Clinton to run. In 2015, during a press event at which female Democratic Senators were endorsing Clinton, Heitkamp said, “we’re supporting Hillary Clinton because she is going to be one of the greatest presidents of the United States of America that we have ever seen.”

But now Clinton has become a political liability, and when Heitkamp needs to go about the sensitive business of backing away from her, she chooses her brother’s radio show:

Washington (CNN)North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said on a radio show this week that it’s past time for Hillary Clinton to exit the political landscape.

Heitkamp, who is facing a tough re-election race in a state Donald Trump won in 2016, was asked Tuesday by her brother, KFGO host Joel Heitkamp, when Clinton will “ride off into the sunset.”
“I don’t know, not soon enough, I guess,” she responded.

The host asked, “What’s the answer?”

And Heitkamp said again: “Not soon enough.”

See how that works?

Heitkamp needs to address a sticky topic. So she goes to her brother who she knows will stick to a script that’s convenient for her. The resulting interview is then pitched to the national media and – voila! – Heitkamp gets the headlines she wants.

All while ignoring interview requests from critics like me. I send Heitkamp’s press people a request for interview every Monday, and every single time I’m ignored. Because despite the fact that I’ve interviewed just about every other Democratic candidate for statewide office over the last couple of cycles, Heitkamp doesn’t want to talk with me.

Because conservative questioners won’t stick to the script like her brother does. UPDATE: Talk radio host Scott Hennen indicates on Facebook that he, too, struggles to book Heitkamp:

The utility of this approach is probably diminishing alongside the male Heitkamp’s declining ratings. According to Nielsen KFGO, the station Joel Heitkamp manages, has seen a more than 32 percent decline in its 12+ audience since the fall 2012 ratings period (right around the time when Heidi Heitkamp was elected to the Senate):

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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