‘If and when she gets re-elected—she’s gonna be super-liberal…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) If James O’Keefe’s headline-grabbing undercover exposés on the radical leftist positions of “battleground” Democrats Phil Bredesen (Tennessee) and Claire McCaskill (Missouri) helped give an edge to the Republican challengers in those states, the latest release on North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp will likely seal the deal for the already faltering incumbent.
Heitkamp, in her first re-election race as a senator, has increasingly lagged behind her opponent, Kevin Cramer, in a state that supported President Donald Trump in 2016 by a margin of 36 percent with all but two counties voting red.
A decision to vote against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in September increased Cramer’s lead into double digits. Heitkamp defended her decision by saying it was a matter of conscience, questioning Kavanaugh’s temperament after saying she “saw rage” in his demeanor and body language, forcing her to turn off the volume.
A poorly conceived ad in which Heitkamp’s campaign outed abuse victims without first seeking their permission sent her farther into a quagmire last week.
The video released by O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, touched on a familiar format: interviewing campaign staff who, believing they were addressing a sympathetic audience, acknowledged the dissonance between what the candidates told their conservative-leaning voters and the issues they actually supported.
It opens with Heitkamp’s campaign digital director, Jesse Overton, explaining that Heitkamp’s current priority was to exercise caution. “It’s an election year for her. She’s being careful about pissing people off, and what’s funny is she said basically, like, after the election—if and when she gets re-elected—she’s gonna be super-liberal.”
Another campaign staffer in the Fargo office copped to the efforts to conceal Heitkamp’s liberal support and deceive the public, even going so far as to take down a poster of President Barack Obama during a visit from the media.
“We had press here because we had a lot of volunteers, so we take it down,” explained Hallie Skripak-Gordon. “… It’s just better to not have to deal with,” she said.
The video then shows the Project Veritas journalist being coached in messaging that is designed to purposely obfuscate Heitkamp’s position on building a wall at the Mexican border. Although the campaign did not encourage outright deception, Regional Field Director Lauren Dronen said “she supports effective border security” was a preferred method for circumventing the question.
“Unfortunately, people don’t understand that there’s more nuance,” Dronen said.
To Heitkamp’s credit, staff assistant Prescott Robinson indicated that her votes supporting Trump’s policies and agenda were in deference to the will of her constituents. However, he said that with a blue wave from other parts of the nation, she would likely be emboldened to abandon North Dakotan values to vote with the liberal majority.
“If the country moved further to the left, she would move to the left,” he said. “If we had a Democratic Senate, she would vote for more policies that you see Democrats support.”
Although Heitkamp has an aversion to being perceived as an obstructionist, she would readily back New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s agenda if he were to become Senate majority leader and control what bills got introduced, Robinson said.
“The thing with politicians is that they’re politicians,” he said.