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10.21.2012 2

Heidi Heitkamp Too Busy Campaigning To Talk Disabled Firefighter of Her Own Party

Heidi Heitkamp

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By Mark Wohlschlegel II — In a state that generally votes Republican, this year’s Senate race between Democrat nominee Heidi Heitkamp and Republican former U.S. House Representative Rick Berg has become a dead heat with two weeks to go.

Why so close?  Many political analysts are now attributing the competitiveness of this race to Heitkamp’s “likability” factor.

Nick Bauroth, also a political science professor at University of North Dakota confirmed. “It’s more sort of classic one-on-one politics where [Mrs. Heitkamp] seems to be succeeding.  She’s been going with that instead of an ‘angry’ campaign.”

Heitkamp brands herself as Democrat who will do what few have done – stand up to President Obama.

She has criticized him on both healthcare and drilling policies – using Republican talking points.  While she does not believe the healthcare bill should be repealed, meaning that a vote for her is a vote against repeal, she does admit that it needs some work.

Furthermore, she regularly chants “Drill, baby drill!” in Sarah Palin-like fashion, yet one of her largest political contributors is an out of state law firm which has a history of litigating against the very hydraulic fracturing that has helped create the North Dakota economic miracle.

While those who donate her campaign cash would put North Dakota’s oil fields out of business, at least the people could take solace in how nice Heitkamp is.

“People like her, that’s just what it is. People like her as an individual,” says Robert Wood, a University of North Dakota political science professor.

This “likeability” is leading to a rare political breed known as “ticket-splitters.”  In the case of North Dakota, it is refering those who will vote for Mitt Romney in the presidential race, and then will turn around and vote Democrat in the Senate race – all because of the “likeability” of the candidate.

However, the case for one North Dakota voter calls into question Heitkamp’s nice factor.

After disabled former fire fighter and Democrat, Rose Bond’s experience one wonders if the “nice” factor may be wearing off.

Recently, an online blogger posted an open letter by Ms. Bond who tried to meet with candidate Heitkamp at one of her events.

As expressed in her letter, Ms. Bond found herself  “snubbed” by Heitkamp in favor of others at the event, and “whisked away to another room” to talk with her “secretaries”.  Not only this, rumors were spread around town that Ms. Bond was paid to disrupt the event!  Despite repeated attempts to contact the Heitkamp campaign, Rose Bond was ignored.

Her conclusion: “I am a registered Democrat, but after my experience with you, can you connect the dots and see how not only I, but my near friends and Facebook Friends, are going to be voting?”

If the Rose Bond’s story gets around the state, one wonders if Heitkamp’s North Dakota nice campaign falters on the reality that if she doesn’t have time for a disabled Democrat fire fighter when she is running for election, how much time will she have for North Dakotans if she gets sent to deal with the party life of Washington, D.C.?

Something to think about.

Mark Wohlschlegel is a Staff Attorney for Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

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