North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, the first-term Democratic senator who is locked in a tight battle with Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, is the “most vulnerable” incumbent senator of the 2018 midterm election cycle, a new analysis from Roll Call declares.
What are the details?
According to Roll Call, a combination of polling, Cramer, and North Dakota’s “partisan shift” contribute to her standing as the “most vulnerable” incumbent senator.
Roll Call explains:
Heitkamp moves to the top spot due to a combination of polling, a tough challenger and her state’s partisan shift. She still might be able to bring together a coalition of voters to prevail, but North Dakota has shifted further right since she won a first Senate term by less than 1 point in 2012. While she has her own brand in the state, so does her opponent, GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer, who represents the entire state as its at-large House member. Cramer lags behind Heitkamp in fundraising, but the dynamics are still tough for North Dakota’s last remaining statewide Democrat.
Roll Call also classifies the fight for Heitkamp’s seat as “tilt Republican.”
Heitkamp replaced Nevada’s Republican Sen. Dean Heller on Roll Call’s list. Fortunately for Republicans, Heller is the only GOP incumbent on the list.
Heitkamp, a moderate Democrat who is neither hugging her party’s platform nor conforming to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” agenda, is quickly losing traction just two months ahead of the crucial midterm election on Nov. 6.
North Dakota is considered one of the election’s most crucial races. It will either act as a springboard for Republicans to expand their majority in the Senate or allow Democrats to make a run at retaking control of the Senate, which they lost in the 2014 midterm elections.
Indeed, national observers have noted all along that Heitkamp’s fight for re-election would be largely uphill due to Cramer’s excellent name recognition as North Dakota’s at-large congressman, in addition to the fact that Heitkamp only narrowly won election in 2012 by less than 1 point.
Also going against the current for Heitkamp is the fact that North Dakota has warmly embraced Trump. In fact, he defeated Hillary Clinton by more than 30 points in the state, which routinely delivers positive approval ratings for the White House since Trump’s win.
The most recent major poll surveying the North Dakota U.S. Senate race showed Cramer with a 4-point advantage over Heitkamp.