HSGAC Ranking Member’s Seat in Jeopardy

Senator Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic North Dakota Senator who won the Senate seat in a state that voted 63 percent in favor of Republican President Donald Trump, is facing a tough reelection battle.

Heitkamp has been active as Ranking Member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction on many of the issues impacting federal employees and their careers. Heitkamp’s seat has until now been listed as a “toss-up,” but the seat is now said to “Lean Republican,” according to new polling by Roll Call/Inside Elections.

Heitkamp’s tenure has been marked by unusual centrism. Aside from winning a Republican state as a Democrat, she has focused on traditionally wonky issues such as federal pay and benefits. Her willingness to work across the aisle earned her an unusual public endorsement from the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, who praised her efforts on a Dodd-Frank reform bill.

“This was a bipartisan effort made possible by lawmakers like Heidi Heitkamp, who put politics aside to work together,” AFP president Tim Phillips said in the statement. “While we don’t agree with Sen. Heitkamp on everything, particularly her vote against tax relief, we commend her for taking a stand against the leaders of her party to do the right thing.”

Heitkamp has also not been shy about allying herself with the Trump Administration, causing further ire within her party. Heitkamp is said to have been a guest aboard Air Force One for a recent bill signing, among other unlikely appearances, tallying up more than a dozen meetings with the president and his advisers, leading to speculation that perhaps Trump would weigh-in on the race in support of his unlikely Democrat ally in the Senate.

Roll Call notes that “of course, Heitkamp can still win re-election, and our ratings will reflect fundamental changes in the race in the months ahead. But she is in a more vulnerable position than her colleagues right now, in a difficult state for any Democrat.”

Posted in From the Hill

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