Women Say Heitkamp Campaign Identified Them as Sexual Assault Survivors Without Their Permission


Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) meets with farmers and ranchers at the Cavalier County Library in Langdon, N.D., July 14, 2018. During the 2018 midterm elections, Heitkamp is grappling with a Supreme Court pick, a trade war, a hostile president and a well-known Republican challenger. (Tim Gruber/The New York Times)

Recently Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign ran an ad (see below) formulated as an open letter sent to Congressman Kevin Cramer by survivors of sexual assault.

The letter purports that some of Cramer’s recent comments about the controversy surrounding the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh were insensitive, but at least four of the women named in the ad feel like they got the raw end of the deal.

Kady Miller of Bismarck is one of the women named in the ad, but says in a Facebook post that “A lot of these people listed, including me, did not give anyone permission for our names to be posted.”

“I don’t even support Heidi Heitkamp and I am not a domestic abuse survivor,” she continues.

Miller didn’t name any of the other women allegedly included in the ad without permission, but in the comments to her post Keeley Beck of Mandan says her name was included without her permission as well:

Another commenter on Miller’s post, Lexi Zhorela of Bismarck, also says she was used for the ad without her permission:

In a separate Facebook post, Eve Lancaster of Bismarck also indicates that her name was included in the letter without her permission. She describes herself as “disgusted” and “furious.”

I’ve communicated directly with two of the women who say they were misidentified and I’m working on getting more information from them.

I’ve reached out to the Heitkamp campaign for comment about this ad, asking how it came to be and how the names were chosen for the ad, but the Senator and her Senate/campaign staff don’t typically respond to me.

I’ll update this post with any response I receive.

UPDATE: In a comment to Miller’s post Mary Rennich of Bismarck, who has appeared in multiple ads supporting Heitkamp’s candidacy, and who described this humble observer as a “thug” earlier this year, suggests that the women upset about the use of their names are idiots:

UPDATE: A source provides this exchange, via Facebook, with the Heitkamp campaign which resulted in a campaign staffer named Isaac apologizing:

The Bismarck Tribune was also contacted about the ad, confirming that it was paid for by the Heitkamp campaign:

UPDATE: Senator Heitkamp has released this statement apologizing for the ad:

Below is the full ad. Note the Heitkamp for Senate campaign disclaimer at the bottom, which is also visible in this version published by the Wahpeton Daily News.

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